What Amy Locane's Life In Prison Is Really Like

It was back in 2010 when Amy Locane, who played Sandy Harling in "Melrose Place" and also starred in numerous other television shows and movies, changed from being a cult actress to persona non grata. In June that year, Locane was driving in Montgomery, New Jersey when she struck the car of Fred and Helene Seeman as they were turning into their driveway, killing Helene and seriously injuring Fred. Locane was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol three times over the limit, and to have been going 18 miles per hour over the speed limit at the time of the crash.

In November 2012, Locane was found guilty of vehicular homicide and assault by automobile. She was sentenced to three years in prison the following February. The sentence was hugely controversial, with critics noting that it was two years shorter than the typical five year sentence for such offenses. The discrepancy was passed for the benefit of Locane's children, according to the presiding judge. However, when she was released in 2015, criticisms of her sentence still hung over her. In 2020, Locane received an eight year prison sentence, once again joining the long list of celebrities who are still in prison. She is currently being held at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey, and details of her second spell behind bars have often come into public view.

She appealed her sentence from behind bars

Amy Locane's initial three year sentence was controversial, not least with the family of Helene Seeman, who lost a beloved daughter, wife, and mother. Prior to Locane's return to prison in 2020, Seeman's relatives testified to convince the court that she deserved to face further jail time as a fitting punishment for a driver whose negligence took a woman's life. Locane herself, however, is adamant that her return to prison for a second time is unjust. Her legal team filed an appeal on her behalf that argued her resentencing violated the double jeopardy constitutional clause that prevents people from being tried twice for the same crime. 

According to court documents from 2022, Lacone appealed to have her sentence of eight years reduced. Her team again focused on her status as a mother, arguing that it was within the interests of her children, who were still minors, that she be released earlier than her sentence stipulates. However, her appeal was rejected by U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp, who  ruled that such sentences as Lacone's are subject to correction, and that no constitutional rights had been violated by her resentencing.

Locane is 'dazed' at being returned to prison

Amy Lacone's attorney, David Fassett, had noted her "extraordinary rehabilitative efforts" during her first incarceration, which suggests that she had been attending classes related to addressing the root causes of her crimes (per NJ.com). Reports confirmed that she returned to practicing Catholicism behind bars, and upon her release she continued to attend church as well as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Locane remains adamant that she has served her time. Indeed, she claims that being returned to prison after completing one sentence has damaged her mental health. "I'm not really sure what's going on. I walk around in a daze," she told The Guardian from prison, where in the first months of her second stint she shared a cell with infected inmates at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's really messing with my mind. I never violated any rules. I never reoffended, and then to get thrown back in here ... it's cruel. I feel like I'm being made an example of." 

In an 2020 interview with Entertainment Weekly Lacone stated that she felt better prepared for life behind bars thanks to the experiences of her first stint at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. She even reconnected with some former inmates who were still there on her return. She said that one of the most difficult aspects of her incarceration is her lack of contact with her children, and her fear that they will forget her. Locane becomes eligible for parole in December 2024.

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If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.