Patricia Spottedcrow is free
Patricia Spottedcrow held her four children — ages 11, 6, 5 and 3 — in her arms Thursday afternoon, as a free woman. The youngest was just one year old when Spottedcrow began a 12-year prison sentence two years ago after being convicted of selling $31 worth of marijuana.
The children could have been teenagers by the time their mother got out of prison, if Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin hadn’t approved Spottedcrow’s parole, and if the Pardon and Parole Board hadn’t agreed to early consideration for her case, reports Cary Aspinall at Tulsa World.
Spottedcrow was released on Thursday morning from Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City after completing a community-level sentence required by the governor as a condition of her parole.
Her harsh sentence had attracted worldwide attention.
She originally faced a 12-year prison sentence out of Kingfisher County for selling a dime bag of pot to a rat. She was thrown in prison in December 2010 after spending a few months in the county jail.
Patricia Spottedcrow is free
Advocates expressed concern for possible racial bias in the case (Spottedcrow is a Native American), pointing out that Oklahoma incarcerates women more than any other state in the U.S., particularly with unusually harsh sentencing for drug crimes.
Spottedcrow missed potty training her youngest child while she was in prison; she also missed first words, first days of school, soccer games, Christmas, and birthdays.
She said that she’s ready to make up for lost time and give her mother, Delita Starr, a break rearing the kids in her absence.
Spottedcrow’s lawyer, Laura Deskin, said she was “absolutely shocked” when she heard about her client’s case through another attorney.
A charge of possession of a dangerous substance in the presence of a minor was added because Spottedcrow’s children were in the home. Starr was also charged, but given a 30-year suspended sentence so she could care for the children while their mother was in prison.
It took Patricia less than 20 minutes for her to walk to freedom on Thursday morning. She had to call a friend to pick her up; her mother hadn’t even arrived from Kingfisher when corrections guards ordered Spottedcrow to leave the prison grounds.
Her reunion with the four kids had to wait until the school bus brought them back home in Kingfisher. Grandmother Starr said she didn’t want to ruin their perfect attendance records.
Tears streamed down son Koby’s face as he saw his younger sisters stare in disbelief to see their mom waiting as they got off the school bus.
Once inside, the children hugged their mother on the couch. The youngest, Ja’zalynn, climbed from her big brother’s lap into her mother’s arms.
“Wrap me up,” Ja’zalynn said to her mother. “I’m going to wrap you all up,” Patricia Spottedcrow said…