NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A woman who says she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim when she killed a man in 2004 was granted clemency Monday by Tennessee’s governor and will be released from prison later this year.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown, who had been serving a life sentence but who will be released on parole on Aug. 7 — 15 years from the date she was first arrested.
“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,” Haslam said in his statement.
Brown, 30, will remain on parole supervision for 10 years on the condition she does not violate any state or federal laws, holds a job, and participates in regular counseling sessions.
Brown’s case has attracted national attention from criminal justice reform advocates, and the attention has amped up as Haslam’s second and final term nears an end. He leaves office Jan. 19.
While law enforcement officials had opposed clemency, arguing Brown was not justified in killing 43-year-old Johnny Allen, celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and singer Rihanna spoke out for Brown.