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Meet The Abuse Victim Who Got 30 Years In Prison — And The Feminist Group Trying To Get Her Out

Tens of thousands have signed a petition from grassroots organization UltraViolet for the release of Tondalo Hall, an Oklahoma prisoner and domestic abuse victim. Hall is serving a prison term 15 times longer than her abusive partner. Read the latest installment of a BuzzFeed News investigation here.

Posted on November 11, 2014, at 4:48 p.m. ET

This is Tondalo Hall, a domestic abuse victim serving a 30-year prison sentence for failing to prevent her boyfriend from beating their kids.

Her boyfriend, Robert Braxton Jr., got a two-year prison sentence.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Though Braxton admitted to fracturing the femur and ribs of his and Hall's 3-month-old daughter, Hall was sentenced to 28 more years in prison than he was for failing to intervene.

Hall's court case is the subject of a new BuzzFeed News investigation.

Oklahoma County District Court documents.

Robert Braxton Jr.

Hall said she has only seen her children once since she went away. They write her letters, some of which she shared with BuzzFeed News. In the letters they tell Hall of what they've been up to, and express hope that she'll be set free.

One letter says, "I hope God Let's [sic] you out of jail."

Courtesy of Tondalo Hall

The national advocacy group UltraViolet has taken up the cause to get the mom of three out of prison, after reading about her in BuzzFeed News' original investigation.

UltraViolet describes itself as a "rapidly growing community of women and men across the U.S. mobilized to fight sexism and expand women's rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture."

Courtesy Tondalo Hall.

Hall at her GED graduation, in prison.

UltraViolet successfully campaigned to have Reebok drop rapper Rick Ross for rapping about drugging and raping a woman.

The group was also heavily involved in the campaign that caused 140 advertisers to drop conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh after he repeatedly called a Georgetown student a "slut" for testifying in support of insurance coverage of birth control.

Prince Williams / FilmMagic
William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

Rick Ross (left) and Rush Limbaugh

Hall received her tough sentence despite evidence that Braxton had violently abused her, including allegedly choking her while pregnant, according to her testimony at trial.

This makes her one of the 28 mothers BuzzFeed News found in a recent investigation who had been sentenced to a decade or more for failing to protect their children from an abusive partner — despite evidence the mothers themselves had been violently abused.

BuzzFeed

Hall has been behind bars for 10 years, while Braxton has been free for eight. This month, Hall applied for a commutation of her sentence to lessen her jail time. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will decide whether her application has any merit.

She lost her original appeal, and the judge in her case has denied a request to modify her sentence.

The parole board will recommend to the governor whether Hall should stay in prison for another 20 years, or be set free after serving 10. The governor cannot commute her sentence without the approval of the parole board.

If the board approves, Hall could be set free. If not, she will still have 20 years left on her sentence, and she will not be eligible for parole until the year 2030, when she will be 46.

These men lead the board that will decide whether Hall spends another 20 years in prison.

Marc Dreyer (left) and Richard Dugger, the chair and vice chair of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. The other three members are Vanessa Price, Patricia High, and Lynnell Harkins.

The parole board recommends to the governor whether inmates should stay in prison or have their sentences commuted.

The governor cannot commute a prisoner's sentence without the approval of the parole board.

KWTV Channel 9 / Creative Commons / Via kgou.org

Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, where Hall is imprisoned.

After Hall sent out her application for clemency, UltraViolet sent out an online petition asking the parole boardmembers to set her free.

UltraViolet writes:

If the Oklahoma Parole Board hears from thousands of us, it could be convinced to set Tondalo Hall free--and her release could set a precedent for the many similar cases mothers face across the country.

So far, more than 44,000 people have signed the petition.

Demand Justice for Tondalo Hall!: Her partner severely beat her & her children--but she's the 1 serving 30 years. http://t.co/GDgqFWj9yo

Lance F.R.@NomadicLanceFollow

Demand Justice for Tondalo Hall!: Her partner severely beat her & her children--but she's the 1 serving 30 years. http://t.co/GDgqFWj9yo

2:02 PM - 06 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Tondalo Hall shouldn't be in prison while the man who abused her & her children is free. Commute her sentence. http://t.co/wPSlNsZYq8

Trista Hendren@thegirlgodbookFollow

Tondalo Hall shouldn't be in prison while the man who abused her & her children is free. Commute her sentence.

http://t.co/wPSlNsZYq8

1:26 PM - 09 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This mother and domestic violence survivor deserves justice. http://t.co/Ot14FHWPTg #tondalohall

C. E. Lawrence@C_E_LawrenceFollow

This mother and domestic violence survivor deserves justice. http://t.co/Ot14FHWPTg #tondalohall

11:44 AM - 07 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

It is unclear when the board will make a decision on her case. The board's interim executive director, Jari Askins, declined to comment.

To see the petition, click here. For more on Hall's case, go here.

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    Alex Campbell is the London Bureau Chief for BuzzFeed News and is a deputy investigations editor. His secure PGP fingerprint is C99D 2577 74B1 8DF0 6E90 3CD7 DFF4 C0F2 2492

    Contact Alex Campbell at alex.campbell@buzzfeed.com.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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