In 2004, then-16-year-old Cyntoia Brown—who was a victim of sex trafficking—was sentenced to life in prison for killing a 43-year-old man who had bought her for sex (and allegedly abused her in the past). Her story gained national attention when a documentary about her life, titled Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story, was released in 2011, and activists have been advocating for her release for years. And now, more than 14 years after her initial imprisonment, Brown has finally been granted clemency (which means that, yes, she will be released).
On December 6th, 2018, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that Brown would have to serve at least 51 years of her prison sentence. However, the Tennessean reports that today, January 7th, Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to the 30-year-old. She will be eligible for release on August 7th, after which she will spend 10 years on parole. Under the conditions of her release, she will have to get a job, attend counseling sessions, and perform at least 50 hours of community service, which will include working with at-risk youth.
In a statement that Brown’s lawyers provided to the Tennesean, Brown thanked Haslam for his “act of mercy.”
Brown’s release is long overdue, and we’re glad she’s finally getting the justice she deserves. August can’t come soon enough.