Her children are 11, 6, 5 and 3 years old now. The youngest was just 1 when Spottedcrow began her prison sentence two years ago.
If Gov. Mary Fallin hadn’t approved Spottedcrow’s parole and if the Pardon and Parole Board hadn’t agreed to early consideration for her case, her children might have all been teenagers by the time she got out.
Spottedcrow was released from Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday morning after completing a community-level sentence required by the governor as a condition of her parole.
Her 12-year prison sentence for selling $31 worth of marijuana garnered widespread national attention after her story was featured in a 2011 Tulsa World series on women in prison.
Spottedcrow originally faced a 12-year prison sentence out of Kingfisher County for selling a “dime bag” of marijuana to a police informant. She entered prison in December 2010 after spending a few months waiting in the county jail.
After her story was published in the World, grassroots supporters lobbied officials to reconsider Spottedcrow’s punishment. Advocates expressed concern for possible racial bias, disparate sentences for drug crimes, Oklahoma’s No. 1 female incarceration rate per capita and the effects on children growing up with incarcerated parents.
Laura Deskin, Spottedcrow’s attorney, said she first heard about her client’s case through another attorney and was “absolutely shocked” at what had happened in Oklahoma’s legal system.
Read more about this case or other features from the Women in Prison series in Tulsa World