A 26-year-old Oklahoma woman who was sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence was released early, KFOR-TV reports.
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In 2010, Patricia Spottedcrow sold $31 worth of pot to an undercover informant. She was charged with a felony and sentenced to 12 years in prison. It was her first felony conviction. Spottedcrow’s conviction evoked outrage from civil rights activists and other concerned citizens from around the world.
Oklahoma is known for having some of the harshest sentencing guidelines in the United States. The protests were apparently affective.
A judge in Kingfisher County cut Spottedcrow’s sentence from 12 years to eight years in 2011. The Oklahoma State Pardon and Parole board paroled her six-months ago. Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla) agreed to sign off on the parole on the condition that she spend 120 days at a community corrections facility. Her mother, Dee Starr, was charged in connection with the same drug deal that locked her daughter up. Starr is serving probation on her 30 year sentence. “We’ve got a new road to travel and we’re gonna travel it together,” Starr said.
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Spottedcrow left Hillside Correctional Center in Oklahoma City and drove straight home to Kingfisher to be re-united with her four young children.
Starr said the kids had perfect attendance in school and so Spottedcrow would see them when they got off the bus Thursday afternoon.
“My first day on the yard they told me I wouldn’t do more than six months and then they told me I wouldn’t do more than a year,” Spottedcrow said. “Then they told me I wouldn’t do more than a year and six months. Just the up and down and how that made me feel, I couldn’t even fathom putting my kids through that. I can’t wait to see my kids. They have no idea. This is going to be a total surprise.”
Meanwhile, Laura Deskin, Spottedcrow’s attorney who is working pro-bono said Spottedcrow still has to pay some court fees back to the state and will be on probation for the next eight years.
“I’m glad that she was given early release,” Deskin said. ”I am grateful to the Pardon and Parole Board and to the governor but she never should have been in this position in the first place.”
“Instead of sending women to prison we need to try and help them before you just send them to prison because prison could turn a good person bad, it really can,” Spottedcrow said.
Spottedcrow’s two-year incarceration cost tax payers about $30,000, according to KFOR-TV. The Tulsa World conducted an extensive investigation into Oklahoma’s prison system and why, according to its investigation, the state sends more women to prison per capita then any other state.