Patricia Spottedcrow, the Oklahoma woman who made headlines in 2010 when she was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling a $31 bag of marijuana to an undercover informant, has finally been relieved of the excessive punishment and released on parole after serving two years of her sentence. The overly severe penalty assigned to her first criminal offense drew attention from advocates who moved to support Spottedcrow and eventually got her a decreased sentence and an early release on parole. Patricia Spottedcrow’s case is, unfortunately, only one example of the excessive penalties imposed on individuals across the country, even for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes like drug possession. If you have been charged with a drug crime like marijuana possession in Oklahoma, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Atkins & Markoff to protect your legal rights.
EXCESSIVE PRISON SENTENCES FOR MINOR CRIMES
While being released early from prison is a rare occurrence in Oklahoma, the aggressive prison sentence imposed on people like Spottedcrow is not. Tens of thousands of people receive harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in the United States, a country that embraces life sentences without parole, mandatory minimums, three-strike laws for nonviolent offenses and drug policies that value punishment over rehabilitation. In addition to bringing attention to excessive sentencing for minor crimes, Spottedcrow’s case also shed light on Oklahoma’s increasingly crowded women’s prisons. It is a little known fact that Oklahoma imprisons women at a higher rate than any other state; in fact, the state’s female incarceration rate is nearly twice the national average and its prisons are at capacity. Between 1977 and 2005, the female prison population skyrocketed more than 757%, and more than half of these women are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes like drug possession.
OUR EXPERIENCED LAWYERS CAN HELP
Although Spottedcrow’s early release allows her to return to her community and begin caring for her four children again, the felony conviction on her criminal record will likely affect her ability to secure housing, find work, receive public benefits and more. If you are facing charges for drug possession or another drug crime in Oklahoma City, don’t hesitate to secure skilled legal counsel. Our reputable lawyers at Atkins & Markoff have extensive experience protecting the legal rights of Oklahomans charged with drug offenses, and can help you build a strong defense in your case. Too often, lives are needlessly torn apart because of excessive sentencing for simple drug crimes. With the help of our qualified attorneys, you can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome in your criminal case.