January 8, 2019
Photo by Lacy Atkins/AP
Cyntoia Brown is almost a free woman! Last month, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that she would have to serve at least 51 years in prison before she would be eligible for release, for killing the man who bought her for sex when she was 16 years old. Now, her case has made a turn for the better.
Brown will be released to parole supervision on Aug. 7 after serving 15 years in prison.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 7, 2019
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam lived up to his word in coming to a decision, in time, about Cyntoia’s case. In December, he was positive that a decision would be made before he leaves office this month: “We’ll hopefully have a decision — I’m just here for six more weeks, so it’ll be before that. But we’re doing our best to review every aspect of that, talking to everybody involved, just like we are with several other — I wouldn’t say exactly similar cases — but somewhat similar cases.”
The decision for Brown’s case, which drew support from celebrities like Rihanna, T.I., Amy Schumer, Kim Kardashian West and more, came “after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” said Haslam.
The governor went on to say that he’s hopeful about her future, especially given the strides she’s already taken: “Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”
Another person who was rooting for Brown was Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III, leader of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville. Walker met the 30-year-old while members of his congregation were working with her through a Tennessee Department of Corrections faith-based mentoring program. After they met, he began pushing for her to receive freedom, which prompted him to speak with Gov. Haslam about forgiveness and second chances. The bishop is now set to walk her out of prison in August.
“We’re here today because a moral man made a moral decision, a courageous decision. We’re here today because this was not just an act of one intervention by myself but the cumulative effort of many around the country, around the world, who prayed, who advocated, who tweeted, who talked about it,” said Walker.
It’s been a long time coming, but Cyntoia is finally getting justice. Even Drake took to Instagram Stories to express how happy he was for Brown being granted clemency: “This makes me so happy. I remember me and @futuretheprince getting on the phones calling everyone trying to see if there was anything we could do about this situation and now Cyntoia was finally granted clemency!”
Drake via his IG story. pic.twitter.com/dPom6sbyGe
— Word On Road (@WordOnRd) January 8, 2019
TELL US: How do you feel about Cyntoia Brown being granted clemency?