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She Served 10 Years Because Her Boyfriend Killed Her Son

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The crime itself is unthinkable: A decade ago, Arlena Lindley’s boyfriend beat her 3-year-old son to death. But for Lindley, the aftermath managed to get worse: She was convicted of failing to protect her child, and after prosecutors asked for a sentence of 10 years, the judge gave her 45 years instead, reports BuzzFeed. “Arlena collapsed,” writes Alex Campbell. As a previous investigation by the website showed in 2014, Lindley was far from alone in receiving this kind of punishment. That 2014 story, however, has prompted a backlash against the idea of abused women receiving longer sentences than men who did the actual abusing. It seems to be helping: This latest update, for instance, is about how Lindley has been freed 35 years early and is now living with her father in Texas.

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Campbell writes about that ride away from the prison: “They spent much of the drive laughing, especially as Arlena absorbed her first shocks to the system. She chewed her first piece of gum in years. Roy, a 63-year-old retiree, showed his 30-year-old daughter how to take a selfie.” Things quieted, however, as they neared Dallas, where Lindley was to visit her son’s grave for the first time—she was already in jail when the funeral took place. Since her release, Lindley has gotten a manufacturing job at a company that makes organic dog food (“I didn’t even know they had that”) and is slowly working to get her life back on track. Click for the full story, which notes that one woman remains in jail serving a 30-year sentence while the man who physically abused her daughter got only two years

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