Tondalo Hall wasn't accused of abusing her two young children but was handed a 30-year sentence for failing to protect them from her abusive boyfriend. Her partner, meanwhile, nabbed a plea deal and served just two years for breaking the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old infant; he was released in 2006. The 31-year-old Hall appealed for clemency to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, but that appeal was denied Wednesday, leaving her with at least 15 more years behind bars and frustrating women's rights activists, BuzzFeed reports. The board—whose vice chair "seemed incredulous" during the hearing that Hall hadn't done more to help her kids, BuzzFeed notes—offered no explanation for its 5-0 decision against Hall, whose plight had received publicity from a BuzzFeed investigation last year.
In court documents, testimony against Hall's boyfriend indicated he choked and punched her regularly, was verbally abusive, and isolated her from family and friends, the Washington Post notes. In her commutation application, Hall—whose sentence ends in 2034, with the possibility of parole in 2030—acknowledged her past mistakes but says she's since dedicated herself to becoming a better mom, taking parenting and anger management classes and earning her GED. "Despite my failures, I did not physically abuse my children," she wrote. "I was an active parent and a proud mother. I loved and cared for my children and I would appreciate the opportunity to watch them grow up." The co-founder of a national advocacy group that got 70,000 signatures on a petition to release Hall tells BuzzFeed, "The [board] had the responsibility to make things right and they failed with [Wednesday's] decision." Read more on her case here.