Brown, a Tennessee woman and sex trafficking victim, was serving a life sentence in prison for admitting to killing a man who bought her for sex when she was 16 years old.
As confirmed by the Tennessee governor's office, the governor has officially granted her clemency. According to reports, she will be released to parole supervision on Aug. 7, 2019, after serving 15 years in prison. Brown, now 30, will stay on parole for 10 years.
"This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case," Haslam shared in a statement. "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."
Brown's case captured the attention of several high-profile advocates, including a congressman, several lawmakers in Tennessee and a variety of celebrities, including Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Ashley Judd and Amy Schumer, among others.
"Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me," Brown shared in a statement released by her attorneys. "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," she continued. "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."
See how people are reacting to the news of Cyntoia Brown being granted clemency in the tweets below.
Over the past few weeks, more people have rallied around Cyntoia's case and I think that's really terrific. Grateful to all of those who wrote letters, made calls, kept her name in the press. ALSO, people in TN have been organizing around her case since at least 2008.— #Prisonculture (@prisonculture) January 7, 2019
Yes, they are freeing miss #cyntoniabrown, tbh she shouldn't be serving a second longer. She killed that man in self defense. I dont know why men think women are at fault when they are raped, abused, and or assaulted pic.twitter.com/ySwx2qjBUt— TheFestiveArtist🎄 (@Platano_Aneudys) January 7, 2019
it's rare to wake up to good news lately, but the full clemency granted to Cyntonia Brown has me smiling ear to ear. Respect and solidarity to the organizers, mainly BW, who made this necessary release a reality. This is amazing news😭— Melatonin (@melanieissleepy) January 7, 2019
I’m in tears right now! Gonna be a good day at the office. Cyntonia Brown is Free! Just in time for Human Trafficking Awareness month. Thanks to all the people who kept working towards her freedom.... https://t.co/aKj27eqNdd— Toshia Shaw (@Toshia_Shaw) January 7, 2019
I’m really happy that Cyntoia Brown's sentence will be commuted. Finally.— Polly Irungu (@pollyirungu) January 7, 2019
I just can’t help but think about all of the other people whose cases did not make national headlines / may never see justice. https://t.co/k4HNUm1hQi
Cyntoia Brown will be freed. In one of his last acts as Tennessee’s governor, Republican @BillHaslam granted executive clemency to Brown, a victim of child sex trafficking, commuting her life sentence for a killing she committed in self-defense at age 16. https://t.co/IXNeVYQlEm— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) January 7, 2019
Yes!!! Cyntoia Brown is granted full clemency!! Thank you, Governor Haslam! Thank you! https://t.co/4rJUH5Wiwd— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 7, 2019
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Thank you Governor Haslam 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/rAiru84fgn— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 7, 2019
if you celebrate Cyntoia Brown’s clemency + don’t empathize with survivors of R. Kelly’s abuse, you’re a walking contradiction— Natasha S. Alford 🇺🇸+🇵🇷✊🏾👩🏾💻🎥 (@NatashaSAlford) January 7, 2019
Now that #cyntoniabrown will be released on August 7th, she will need money to reenter society. Is there a REAL gofundme for her? Can we send it to her commissary? How can we help her?— blondehound (@blondehound) January 7, 2019