At 30 years old, Cyntoia Brown has already served 15 years of a 51-year sentence for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville.
Although she was convicted of killing a man named Johnny Allen, her story is a lot more complex.
At 16 years of age, Brown was hired as a sex worker by the 43-year-old. He had traded her from a pimp called “Kut Throat” who fed Brown drugs and repeatedly raped her. Brown was a victim of sex trafficking and the man she killed was one of her many abusers.
Today her case was granted clemency by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, due to her exemplary behaviour while in prison. Brown will be released from prison on August 7, but will remain on parole supervision until 2029.
After a documentary called Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story aired, there was renewed interest in Brown’s case, reports Fox News. Released in 2011, the documentary, which took seven years to produce, made one thing clear: the 16-year-old who was tried as an adult for first-degree murder and robbery in 2006 never had a chance. Brown was born into a life that was doomed to fail.
Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Cara Delevigne and T.I. then campaigned on social media to apply pressure adn convince people from the justice system to the US President to release Brown.
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did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? cause….. Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this child’s sentence I hope to God you don’t have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already! #FREECYNTOIABROWN #HowManyMore
In November last year, Kim Kardashian said she was consulting her attorneys to see “what can be done to fix this”.
“The system has failed,” the reality TV star tweeted at the time. “It’s heartbreaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life!”
Lana Del Ray called the whole situation “unfair”.
Rapper T.I. also tweeted Brown’s story with the hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown.
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown pic.twitter.com/73y26mLp7u
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 21, 2017