On Jan. 8, Cyntoia Brown was granted clemency from jail after killing a man who bought her for sex back in 2004. In 2004 the then 16-year-old was sentenced to life after she turned herself in for killing Johnny Mitchell Allen. Brown had shot Allen in the head while he was sleeping and then took his money, guns, and truck. She took the money for fear of her pimp, nicknamed Cut Throat.
Clemency is defined as an act of mercy or leniency, providing relief from certain consequence of a criminal conviction. So this means Brown will be leaving jail and returning home on parole supervision in August of 2019. The clemency came after immense pressure from activists, congressman, and many A-list celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna advocating for her release, calling her imprisonment an injustice. Beforehand, in order to even be considered for clemency, Brown would’ve have to serve 51 years in jail. Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam, has stated that despite her committing such a heinous crime, requiring Brown to serve 51 years before being eligible for parole is considered too harsh.
The world first came to know about Brown in a 2011 documentary titled Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story. The documentary focused on her life as a prostitute, being raped multiple times, and also revealed that she was born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), due to her mother being a heavy drinker while pregnant with Brown. FAS can cause growth problems and learning disorders to children born with it. Since her time in jail, Brown has earned her associates degree from Lipscomb University and has become a mentor for at-risk youth.
Brown’s case has prompted many people to look at similar cases of wrongly imprisoned sexual assault victims, in hopes bringing them to their rightful freedom. It’s also called for the long needed change of the prison judicial system, that affects many women like her. Brown feels grateful for being given a second chance, and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree and help young girls avoid ending up like she did when she gets out of prison.
Sophia’s Corner is a new weekly column written by Talon reporter, Sophia Crowder. It’ll talk about everything from movies, music, and social issues in society.