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Woman released from prison through Project Commutation turning life around

Woman released from prison through Project Commutation turning life around (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Almost two dozen women serving time have now spent more than a month back in society thanks to Project Commutation, a project correcting unjust prison sentences in Oklahoma.

This campaign led by Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform helped to release 21 woman serving excessive prison sentences for low-level offenses.

Johnna Davidson is one of those women. She said she still can’t believe she met Governor Mary Fallin last Thursday. The Governor invited all 21 women to Oklahoma City.

With joy radiating from her, it’s hard to think where Davidson’s life was at two years ago.

“Leading up to my incarceration I had been through two divorces and a couple of unhealthy relationships that led to my meth addiction and it just continued to spiral,” she said.

Davidson was incarcerated in 2017.

“I was sentenced to 15 years on a possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent, meaning that I had to serve four years and nine months,” she said.

She didn’t give up. During her time there she participated in several programs, gaining achievement certificates for her contributions.

Her good behavior didn’t go unnoticed and eventually Beth Taylor became an advocate for Davidson to be released. She is the executive director of HIS Open Door Ministry, a nonprofit helping women rehabilitate back into society after they are released from prison.

“We were so hopeful that things would change and laws would change and people would start taking a long look at the situation that we were in and what had brought us to be number one in incarceration,” said Taylor.

On Dec. 5, 2018, Davidson was granted commutation after serving two and a half years.

She’s now living at Taylor’s rehabilitation home and getting back on her feet.

“We’re watching Johnna go to work,” said Taylor. “She had a job almost immediately. She’s learning good skills. She has a whole team of people around her. She’s destined for success.”

Davidson said she is using this second chance to not only better herself but others just like her.

“This support that I have now I can’t even explain,” she said. “It makes me want to strive to help the still suffering addict and the one who is lost because there is help out there.”

“I just want women to know that we’re here,” she said. “We’ve been through this, we can relate on several different things and I just want to give hope to women who have been through the things that I have been through.”

Taylor said Project Commutation is currently gathering names for another group of women to go before the parole board who will determine if they will be released.

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