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Will This Battered Woman Be Set Free? Parole Board Set To Decide

The case of Tondalo Hall, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for failing to protect her children from abuse — while the actual abuser got only two years — will go before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board later this month. The case, part of a BuzzFeed News investigation, has received attention from a national advocacy group.

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After months of delay, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will hear the case of Tondalo Hall later this month.

Hall is a decade into a 30-year sentence for failing to protect her children from her boyfriend, Robert Braxton. She has served far longer in prison than Braxton, who received a two-year sentence for breaking the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old daughter. Hall alleged in statements to authorities that she also suffered violent abuse at the hands of Braxton, describing him choking her, punching her, throwing things at her, and verbally assaulting her.

Hall was identified in a BuzzFeed News investigation as one of 28 mothers in 11 states who have been sentenced to more than a decade in prison for failing to protect their children from abusers — despite evidence that the mothers themselves were physically abused.

When Hall submitted her application for clemency from the parole board in November, a national women's rights group, UltraViolet, took up her case, gathering more than 70,000 signatures for a petition demanding she be set free.

But the parole board, which has faced turmoil in recent months, hadn't set a date to hear her case until now.

The board will meet to hear her case, and dozens of others, starting the fourth week of June. A parole board employee told BuzzFeed News that commutations will be heard on that Monday, June 22.

If the board grants Hall's request, then Gov. Mary Fallin will have final say over her fate.

If either the board or Gov. Fallin deny clemency, then Hall will remain behind bars until at least 2030.

Alex Campbell is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 0712 96AD 2FED CEF9 AFA7 9280 0397 E646 0A39 2C8A

Contact Alex Campbell at alex.campbell@buzzfeed.com.

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