Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Parole for Woman Sentenced to 12 Years for Selling $31 Worth of Pot

Patricia Spottedcrow, 26. Prison photo via Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

A woman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling a small amount of cannabis has been released on parole.

In 2010, Patricia Spottedcrow was sentenced to prison after selling $31 of marijuana to an undercover officer. The Oklahoma mother of four was charged with a felony and convicted. In addition to the drug charge, Spottedcrow was also hit with a charge of possession of a controlled substance in the presence of a minor because her kids were home at the time of her arrest. Although it was her first felony conviction, she was given a 12 year sentence, one that many considered too harsh. Her story attracted national attention, and after much pressure from lobby groups, a judge lowered Spottedcrow’s sentence to eight years in 2011.

In April, the Pardon and Parole Board recommended that she be paroled. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin agreed to sign off on Spottedcrow’s parole under the condition that she spend 120 days in a work-release program first. Spottedcrow completed the program Thursday and was released from Hillside Correctional Center in Oklahoma City. She headed home to Kingfisher, where she reunited with her children, ages 11, 6, 5 and 3, and her mother, Delita Starr, who’d been raising the children in Spottedcrow’s absence. Starr was also charged in connection with the marijuana sale and was given probation and a 30-year suspended sentence so she could take care of her grandchildren.

Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state, Tulsa World reports. The female inmates cost taxpayers about $43 per inmate per day; Spottedcrow’s two years in prison cost approximately $30,000.

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