31-year old, Cyntoia Brown, was sentenced to life in prison at 16 years old for killing a man who she claimed solicited her for sex, will be released from prison next week. Brown has been incarcerated at the Tennessee Prison for Women for the past 15 years. Conditions of her freedom require her to meet with a parole officer over the next ten years.
At 16, she was tried as an adult and received a life sentence for murdering a 43-year old man. She said she met the man at a restaurant in Nashville after a pimp forced her into prostitution. The man had taken her back to his place to have sex, where Cyntoia Brown said she was scared for her life. While at her place he showed her many guns and spoke on his military experience. Brown shot him while they were in bed, as she feared he was reaching for a gun.
Her case began to gain recognition national once celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna began calling for her to be pardoned. Also, a petition on MoveOn received more than 600,000 signatures from people who supported her release from jail.
So, in January, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted her clemency after immense pressure from public figures and citizens who had more than a general interest in criminal justice reform.
During the announcement of her clemency, Haslam stated her sentence was "too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Brown has taken to rebuild her life in prison." While behind bars, Brown participated in and completed educational programs and mentored other women who she was locked up with.
This much deserved and needed and a step in the right direction for prison system reform. We'll be the first to say it, even though it's a little early.... WELCOME HOME CYNTOIA!!!