FILE - In this file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Tondalao R. Hall is pictured in a photo dated July 7, 2009. A criminal justice group that's working to reduce Oklahoma's prison population says Hall's 30-year prison sentence for failing to report the abuse of her children by a boyfriend who served only two years for the abuse illustrates a wider problem. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

Group takes aim at Oklahoma's failure-to-protect law

September 29, 2018 - 10:25 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A criminal justice group plans to ask the Oklahoma Legislature to a change state law that can lead to longer prison sentences for battered women who don't report child abuse than for the abusers themselves.

Every state has laws meant to protect children, but critics say Oklahoma's failure-to-protect law is particularly harsh in that it carries a possible life prison sentence and doesn't make exceptions for frightened mothers who are also being abused.

Lawyers say that was the case with Tondalao Hall, who is 12 years into a 30-year prison term for not telling the authorities that her boyfriend was abusing her kids. The boyfriend was sentenced in 2006 to probation and the two years in jail he had already served while awaiting trial.

Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board recently declined to reduce the sentences of Hall and three other women with similar stories.

The group Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform says it plans to seek changes in the laws to protect abused mothers.

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