Annette “Annie” Farrell is a proud survivor and mother of four young children, currently serving a term of 15 years at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. After striving for over a decade to protect herself and her family from their abusive father, Annie was convicted of aiding him in the crime of sexual assault. At the time of the offense, she was suffering with bipolar disorder and substance abuse issues. Originally, Annie (who had no felonies) was sentenced to 20 years in prison while her abuser (who had a prior violent felony) was sentenced to 15 years. It is not unusual in cases like this for a woman to receive a harsher sentence. Her sentence was subsequently deemed excessive on appeal and reduced to 15 years.
As a child, Annie was terrorized by her step-father, who physically abused and assaulted her and then violently attacked her when she was pregnant with her first child at the age of 14. . Annie was 14, the father of the child, her abuser, was 21. After she gave birth to her first child, Annie began working at a club to support her mother, newborn and sisters. Although Annie’s mother did not approve of her working at the club, she was grateful for the extra support to make ends meet. The father of Annie’s children became verbally and physically violent toward her, during the course of their relationship which spanned more than eight years. He routinely used weapons to viciously cut Annie across her face and body, once stabbing her in the legs. Her body is scarred from the cumulative effects of the abuse. Despite this abuse, Annie had three more children with him, the last of whom was born only two weeks prior to her incarceration in 2017.
After Annie’s abuser hit her, she would try to protect her children by telling them that she fell, but they didn’t believe her, and often protested their father’s violence. Annie’s oldest son would try to throw shoes at his father to protect Annie from attack.
In her time at Bedford Hills, Annie has become involved with an Alternatives to Violence program. She has become a leader in the program and started facilitating classes in the fall of 2019. Annie is a prolific writer and poet who enjoys consuming the many books she receives from her grandmother. She wants to write a book of her own and learn new ways of healing through poetry. Annie works regularly with other survivors of gender-based violence on healing and encourages other people to write as a form of therapy. She dreams of continuing her literary and healing work when she is released. Annie has also been taking classes at Bedford Hills in preparation to continue her collegiate career.
Annie’s mother and children live in Brooklyn, NY and due to the high cost of travel and difficult family dynamics, are rarely able to visit. She misses her children and worries about their growing up without their mother in their lives. Annie is especially concerned about her youngest daughter who was born just weeks before Annie’s incarceration. Still, her children hold on to Annie’s love for them, and share her love of the arts. Her three daughters recently formed a playful music group called the “Plum Girls.” They miss her deeply and await her homecoming so they can be together as a family.