Susan Taormino

Susan TaorminoSusan received two consecutive five to 30-year sentences in 2000 after selling a half gram of cocaine to a former customer-turned-informant. She was released on March 10, 2009.

Susan was born in Michigan where her elderly parents still reside.  After a rough divorce in 1971, she began drinking and abusing cocaine.  She found a job bartending, but without child support, could not provide for her two children and pay bills. Susan turned to selling small quantities of cocaine to close friends.  

In 1997, a former customer-turned-informant repeatedly begged Susan for a half gram of cocaine. Susan agreed and drove to her codefendant’s house in a neighboring town where she stored the cocaine.  As she was returning, police officers stopped Susan and arrested her.  They searched both Susan and her codefendant’s house, where they found between 340-360 grams of cocaine.  

Susan pled guilty and received two consecutive 5-30 year sentences. She was forced to sell her home and her bank accounts were seized.  At the time of her arrest, she had been employed as a bar manager for ten years, earning $7.00 an hour.  Susan’s codefendant served three years and was released in 2003. 

While in prison, Susan dedicated herself to helping others and herself through academic and vocational training. She taught START, a reentry program that prepares prisoners for successful employment upon their release. She also worked as a legal writer, providing services to prisoners without GEDs and those with mental or physical disabilities.  Susan took classes at the University of Michigan and competed regularly in the school’s Prisoner Art show, receiving 1st place in 2001. 

Since her incarceration, Susan has missed the weddings of both her children and the births of three grandchildren.  Her parents are too old to visit her in prison, and Susan hopes to see them one last time before they pass away. Susan was freed on March 10, 2009 and rejoined her loving family after almost a decade behind bars.