WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 12)—According to a poll released by the Pew Research Center Monday, Americans "feel safer" with Martha Stewart in prison.
"Martha Stewart is a menace to society," said Jolene Lim, a receptionist from Baton Rouge, LA. "She sold nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone on an insider tip, then alleged her innocence in her own magazine. Thank God she's behind bars. Now I can sleep soundly at night."
Lim added: "I just couldn't ever feel at ease when I knew she was out there obstructing justice and making false statements to federal officials. Even talking about it gives me the shivers."
Of the 2,500 people polled, 22 percent said they "felt safer" and 41 percent said they "felt extremely relieved" when Stewart began serving her five-month sentence at West Virginia's Alderson Prison.
"When I found out [Stewart] was behind a 10-foot-thick concrete wall, I heaved a huge sigh of relief," said Daniel McAllen, a jeweler from Newark, NJ. "If she were on the streets, who knows what sort of business maneuvering she'd be up to behind closed doors?"
"I have a family to think of," McAllen added.
Boston-area teacher Helen Greene said she had been "afraid to leave the house" before the verdict in Stewart's trial was announced.
"Martha Stewart avoided losses of $45,000 by selling that stock," Greene said. "$45,000! If they didn't put her in jail for that, people would've taken to the streets! Outraged citizens would have broken windows, overturned cars, and set fire to the courthouse."
Even citizens who said they were only vaguely familiar with the Stewart case reported feeling safer after her conviction.
"I don't know the technical aspects of it, but I know that Martha Stewart did something with the stock market," Chicago welder Marvin Manckowicz said. "I'm not sure if she was selling her own stock or someone else's, but I do know that everyone said it was wrong. I breathed easier when I found out she wasn't going to be doing any more of that again for five months."
Of those polled, 62 percent said the five-month sentence was inadequate, with 46 percent of those believing that Stewart should have been imprisoned for 10 years or longer, and 3 percent expressing the belief that she should have received a life sentence.
Prosecutor Karen Patton Seymour said that, in addition to the five-month prison sentence, Stewart has been sentenced to five months of home confinement and two years of probation.
"Even after she's out of prison, she'll be kept under close watch," Seymour said. "No one is going to forget what she did."