An Oklahoma woman who has already served 15 years in prison for failing to report her boyfriend, who served just two years behind bars for abusing her children, moved a step closer to freedom Tuesday. Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board voted unanimously to recommend 35-year-old Tondalao Hall's 30-year prison sentence be commuted to time served. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt will now consider the recommendation. Hall's ex-boyfriend, Robert Braxton Jr., pleaded guilty to abusing the children and was released on probation after a couple of years in jail. The inequity of the case has outraged women's rights groups and brought further attention to Oklahoma's high rate of incarceration, particularly of women, the AP reports.
Previous attempts at securing Hall's early release have been unsuccessful, but the Pardon and Parole Board has new members appointed by Stitt, who has made reforming the state's criminal justice system a priority for his administration. Hall's three children wrote letters to the Pardon and Parole Board to advocate for their mother's release, and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater recommended the commutation of her sentence. ACLU attorney Megan Lambert says the case is a "good example of why Oklahoma has a higher rate of female incarceration than anywhere else in the world, and that is because we impose harsh sentences upon women for the crimes of their male romantic partners." The ACLU says Hall was also a victim of her ex-partner's violence.
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