Since The Act started airing, fans have questioned just how fair Gypsy Rose Blanchard‘s 10-year prison sentence is — and her family is questioning it, too. Considering the circumstances of this particular true crime case, many think of the premeditated murder as an act of self-defense. And while the 27-year-old’s step-mom, Kristy Blanchard, doesn’t exactly agree, she does think it’s time for her daughter to be released. While speaking exclusively with In Touch, she and Fancy Macelli, a family friend and the owner of Gypsy’s life story, made their case for clemency.

“She accepts the fact she got caught. She accepts the fact that she is doing time. She knows she made a mistake,” Kristy told In Touch. Gypsy has said as much herself in an interview where she expressed her own concerns about her sentence. But, after spending a few years behind bars since her sentencing in July 2015, the family believes she’s ready to come home. Gypsy’s dad, Rod Blanchard, even started a petition to ask the governor of Missouri to grant her leniency. “He feels that, ‘OK, yes, she made a plea, but let’s see if we can get her out a little earlier,'” Kristy shared.

It’s not that anyone thinks that what she did should be lessened,” agreed Fancy, who has interviewed members of the family as well as Gypsy herself for By Proxy, her own TV show that’s in the works. “But in the same sense, there is not any other case quite like this. There is not any other precedent set for this. So it’s not that [the family doesn’t] think that she should’ve done some time or any of those things. But at this point, you’re punishing a person who has spent her entire life being punished.” More importantly, they simply don’t think that Gypsy would be dangerous outside of prison. “There’s not another incident that Gypsy’s going to come out and kill somebody.”

The family argues that the purpose of prison is, ideally, rehabilitation. “If you don’t feel that the person is rehabilitatable, then the death penalty is on the line or a life sentence or any of those things. But Gypsy’s not a threat to society,” said Fancy. “She’s not gonna come out and kill anybody else. God help us, I don’t think anybody else is gonna shove her in a wheelchair for 20 years and tell her she has leukemia and make her teeth rot out of her head and pull her salivary glands. It’s not gonna happen.”

Kristy agrees. But as Gypsy’s step-mom, she’s had to contend with her own share of haters and nay-sayers both in person and online. “People ask me, ‘Are you going to be scared when she comes home?’ No. Why? Why would I be scared?” The fact that Gypsy killed her mother isn’t something that worries them — because their daughter is never going to be put in a situation like that again. Of course, the circumstances of Gypsy’s life also meant that she was taught to lie and steal and hide the truth from people. But her family says that serving her sentence up until this point has helped.

“She had to take anger management [courses]. She had to take a class where she had to write a letter to her mom and then she had to write a letter [from her mom’s perspective] to her. So there are programs, classes that she has to take and it has opened her eyes a lot,” Kristy said. “The Gypsy that I talked to the first few months [of her sentence], probably up to the first year, is not the Gypsy that she is today. She is more vocal. She has a backbone. She’s not scared to tell me anything compared to what she was before. Has prison helped her and these classes? Most definitely.”

At this point, though, they argue that she’s as rehabilitated as she’s going to get. “I think it’s done what it’s supposed to do,” said Fancy. “She needs to come out and get help. She needs to go through intensive counseling. She needs to feel the love and support of a real community, a real family.” Simply put, “holding her any longer is not going to help her achieve any further growth. According to Fancy, “She needs now to come out and be in our society and acclimate into society where she’s going to be the rest of her life. … And she needs to do good. She wants to be an advocate for people who are being abused, or whose parents may have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, or just general child abuse. She wants to be an advocate. That’s what she wants to do with her life.”

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