«But what Elisa Kelly does know is that she will be here for two-and-a-quarter years.
It is a relatively short sentence compared to the murderers and rapists with whom she paces around the narrow, pit-like courtyard once a day for 10 minutes.
You might argue that Elisa Kelly, who shares her cell with nine other inmates, is lucky, because her original sentence of eight years was slashed to 27 months after a lengthy and costly appeals process which finally hit a dead end when the US Supreme Court refused to hear her case. (...)
Elisa's crime was to hold a birthday party for her 16-year-old son Ryan and serve his friends beer.
As a precaution, she and her ex-husband, who is serving 30 days for bringing the alcohol onto the property, made sure that none of the kids would be able to drive home.
As they arrived at their 6000ft suburban mansion on the outskirts of Earlysville, she confiscated their car keys, put them in a bucket, barricaded the drive with her Hummer and told them to have a good time.
They were all expecting to have a sleep over and, since Elisa knew most of the kids because she had taught them at school, she did not think it was necessary to warn their parents that beer would be consumed.
At about 10pm the din of music and boys' voices was drowned out by police sirens.
Some 30 officers with guard dogs swooped on the red-brick house in Bleak House Road.
Someone shouted "cops!" and many of the boys dispersed into the surrounding forest.
Everyone was caught. The young guests were breathalysed and about half tested positive.
Elisa and her husband were immediately handcuffed and led away to jail. They both pleaded guilty.
In Virginia, like in much of the US, you can drive when you are 15, die in the army at 17 and buy a gun at 18.
But you cannot let beer or wine pass your lips legally until you are 21.»