OKLAHOMA CITY — Last week the Pardon and Parole Board withdrew the parole restrictions for seven Oklahoma inmates.
For inmate Patricia Spottedcrow, the change meant a trip back to prison, Eddie Warrior Prison in Taft.
Six other inmates, Easker Brooks, Rocky McKinley, Richard Sipe III, Wesley Gabelt, Ronald Skinner and Stephen Chancellor also had their parole restrictions withdrawn by the board.
However, during Spottedcrow’s trip back to Eddie Warrior Prison on Tuesday, the Pardon and Parole Board apparently changed her status again from “withdrawn” to “suspended.”
“Nothing really surprises me at this point,” Patricia Spottedcrow said.
Spottedcrow has served two years behind bars for selling $30 of marijuana.
Her original sentence was 12 years.
The case has been a battle cry for advocates of sentencing reform across the country.
This latest hiccup in Spottedcrow’s parole process has been extremely traumatic for Spottedcrow whose four young children have been anxiously awaiting her release.
“The first year I cried every single night. I couldn’t take it. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt like it was the end of the world,” Spottedcrow said. “I really don’t know how I made it this far. It was so devastating. I was devastated. It broke me down.”
Spottedcrow’s children are able to visit at the work-release facility, Hillside Correctional Center in Oklahoma City.
However, a trip to Eddie Warrior Prison in Taft is a tremendous burden for the low-income family and Spottedcrow’s mother, who is caring for the children while their mother is incarcerated.
Patricia Spottedcrow has seen her four children only three times in two years.
Spottedcrow spent just a few minutes at Eddie Warrior on Tuesday.
Prison guards sent her back to Hillside almost immediately after her arrival because of the change in her parole status.
“I turned around to get my handcuffs off and they’re like, ‘Uh, get back on the bus; you’re going back to Hillside,'” Spottedcrow said.
Spottedcrow was not able to start her new work-release job at Sonic this week because of this latest problem with her parole status.
She is hoping to start work by the end of the week.
“I’m not gonna give up until I walk out the gate,” Spottedcrow said. “I’ve got my mom and my kids out there waiting on me. Whatever it takes to get me to them I’m going to do it. I’ve been doing it.”
Below is Patricia Spottedcrow’s full interview with Ali Meyer from inside Hillside Correctional Center.