OK Woman Gets 10 Years for Selling $31 of Marijuana
Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow and her mother sold $10.00 of marijuana to a police informant inside their home. Patricia's children were present. When the informant paid her, she asked her son for single dollar bills so she could make change. A few weeks later, the informant returned and bought $20.00 of pot.
Both women were first-time offenders. They were offered two years in prison and turned it down, pleading guilty without plea agreements. Patricia got ten years in prison, her mother got 30 years suspended, with five years of drug treatment. Both received fines in the thousands of dollars. Patricia was taken into custody immediately. She has effectively lost her four children and her husband. She was unemployed at the time, and the family had recently lost their home. She had previously been employed at a nursing home, as a certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant, work she'll never get again when out of prison.
He sheds a tear remembering what he misses most. “I used to go in her room and get to lay down with her,” he said, pausing. “I can't see her no more.”
Koby has become the caregiver for his sisters on occasion as his grandmother serves as their guardian. The girls' father helps, but an illness prevents him from caring full-time for the children....
Who's supporting the family now? Patricia's mother:
Starr earns minimum wage working at a gas station and receives food stamps and child care subsidies. She is paying off her nearly $8,600 in court fines at $50 a month. She lives in a rural area and cannot drive because her license was suspended after her conviction. She gets rides from neighbors and friends.
Oklahoma leads the country in female incarceration. It has two prisons for women, with 2,622 inmates.
Of those, 48 percent are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses and 22 percent for other nonviolent offenses such as embezzlement and forgery. Of the 1,393 women received by Oklahoma prisons last year, 78 percent were identified by DOC as minimal public safety threats.
What a Dickensian story. Sadly, the Reefer Madness age continues in some parts of the country, as do draconian sentencing policies. These sentences destroy the lives not just of the offender, but of their families and children. They are also a drain on the public coffers.
Oklahoma Watch has more on the case as part of its series on women in Oklahoma prisons.
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