Cyntoia Brown, the alleged child sex trafficking victim who had been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man who solicited sex from her when she was 16 years old has been granted clemency, according to the Tennessean.
After fully considering all aspects of the case, Tennesse Gov. Bill Haslam ordered a full commutation to parole for Brown. She will be eligible for release on Aug. 7, 2019, and will remain on parole for 10 years.
According to Haslam,
“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.
As a condition of her parole, Brown will be required to obtain employment, participate in counseling, and perform a minimum of 50 hours of community service. Some of that time will be spent working with at-risk youth.
Cyntoia’s case is very rare, as 98 percent of clemency cases are never heard. Following the governor’s decision, Brown issued a statement, saying:
“Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a secon chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.
I want to thank those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Ms. Connie Seabrooks for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb LIFE Program. It changed my life. I am also grateful to those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who will work with me over the next several months to help me in the transition from prison to the free world.
Thank you to Dr. Richard Goode and Dr. Kate Watkins and all of you at Lipscomb University for opening up a whole new world for me. I have one course left to finish my Bachelor’s degree, which I will complete in May 2019.
I am thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement I have received. We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His Saving Grace.
Thank you to my family for being a backbone these past 14 years.
I am thankful to my lawyers and their staffs, and all the others who, for the last decade have freely given of their time and expertise to help me get to this day.
I love all of you and will be forever grateful.
With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.
Thank you.” -Cyntoia Brown