Cyntoia Brown Will Finally Walk Free Next Week After Being Jailed For 15 Years
Cyntoia Brown’s story served as a model example of what happens to juveniles of color in a justice system that is not swayed to protect them.
The 31-year-old’s story has been highly publicized over the last 16 years after she was convicted of fatally shooting a 43-year-old Nashville man as a victim of sex trafficking when she was just 16-years-old. Brown never shied away from her involvement in the shooting, but said she felt forced to use self-defense, fearing for her life and of the consequences she would face from her former boyfriend, who was also her pimp.
But on August 7 she will be released from the Tennessee Women’s Prison after serving 15 years in jail, The Tennessan reports. In January former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted Brown clemency in a last-minute effort after advocates urged for her life sentence to be commuted. Under the terms of her sentence, she would not have been eligible for parole until she served as least 51 years, which means she would be at least 67-years-old.
Brown has remained largely silent regarding her personal story, due to the trauma she’s experienced at such a young age and the complicated events surrounding her arrest and later conviction. But a 2011 documentary by USC professor Dan Birman titled, “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story,” gave Brown’s story the spotlight it deserved and accrued national attention. Several celebrities including Rihanna and Ashley Judd have tweeted in support of Brown’s release.
In prison Brown became an advocate for herself and worked to obtain an associate and bachelor’s college degree from Lipscomb University. Brown was a student in the institution’s LIFE program which provides college level courses for young women at the Tennessee Women’s Prison.
However Brown’s journey to fully acclimate into society will still be weighed by her former conviction. She will be placed on supervised probation for 10 years and will have maintain a job, attend counseling and participate in community service.