A 35-year-old Oklahoma mother who was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison for failing to report the abuse of her children by her boyfriend was released from prison on Friday, Nov 8.
Tondalao Hall and her then-boyfriend, Robert Braxton, were arrested in 2004 on child abuse charges after she took two of her youngest children to the hospital. Her 3-month-old daughter had broken ribs and a broken femur, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, which is representing Hall, CNN reported.
In 2006, Hall was sentenced after pleading guilty to failing to protect her children. She served 15 years behind bars while Braxton served just two years in jail.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday, Nov. 7, signed off on Hall’s request granting commutation, leading the way to her release the next morning at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, Oklahoma, KOCO5 News reported.
Hall cried and hugged her children, her siblings, and many friends, who had been waiting for her.
“First and foremost, I want to thank God for making a way and for keeping me safe and sane during this season of my life,” Hall said in a statement released on Thursday prior to her release, CNN reported.
“Secondly, for all the people God has placed in my life, my children and my family for sticking by me. Time and space cannot accommodate the list of people who have loved, helped, and supported me through all of this, so, to everyone who has, thank you and God bless you!”
Hall’s 16-year-old son, Robert, was just 18 months old when his mother went to prison, said the decision came as a pleasant surprise for the family. He said he didn’t expect his mother to be released so quickly but was excited to have her back home.
“I’m feeling great. I thank the Lord for this day,” he said.
Her 74-year-old father, Wazell Hall, said the day was heaven-sent.
“One thing I asked him to do–let me see her out of prison before I leave this world,” he said.
Hall obtained her cosmetology license while incarcerated and hopes to get a job putting it to use. She said she planned to help the women she met who were locked up.
“Most of the ladies feel like they’re stuck, too, but they’re not. God is able,” she said.