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Black Oklahoma Mother Freed After 15 Years in Behind Bars for Crimes Committed by Her Boyfriend

An Oklahoma woman jailed for a crime committed by her boyfriend has been freed after 15 years. She was released over the weekend.

Tondalao Hall was convicted under Oklahoma’s controversial “Failure to Protect” law for the abuse subjected her children by her boyfriend, Robert Braxton Jr.

She was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2006 after pleading guilty to charges of failure to protect her children.

Braxton also pleaded guilty to abusing the children and was given 10 years. But he was freed on probation having received credit for the two years he had already spent in jail.

“Blessed to be with my family,” Hall said following her release. “Blessed just to be with my family.”

Failure To Protect
Tondalao Hall, center, greets family members following her release from Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, Okla., Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. SUE OGROCKI / AP

According to reports, Hall’s son, Robert, hadn’t touched her since he was one. “It’s great, you know?” said Robert. “I’m seeing she’s got freedom.”

Hall pleaded her case before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month where she opened up on how her ex-boyfriend abused and terrorized her as well.

“I’ve worked really hard to be the woman that my children need me to be.” CBS News quoted her as saying.

The parole board agreed unanimously to commute her sentence as time served.

Oklahoma is said to have America’s highest incarceration rate for women – about twice the national average.

More than half of the state’s female inmates are survivors of domestic assault or sexual violence, reports CBS News.

“Her case is not unique,” Megan Lambert, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma said. The ACLU in 2017 filed a lawsuit challenging what it said was a disproportionate sentence because Braxton had also abused Hall.

“Because there are so many other women who were also victims of domestic violence who are incarcerated on failure to protect charges with far longer sentences than the actual abuser,” Lambert said.

Hall’s release comes days after more than 450 state inmates convicted of drug and property crimes were released Monday, the largest single-day mass commutation in U.S. history.

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