Gov. Haslam grants executive clemency to inmate Cyntoia Brown


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Teen Life Sentence
Cyntoia Brown, a woman serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was a 16-year-old prostitute, enters her clemency hearing Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, Tenn. (Lacy Atkins /The Tennessean via AP, Pool) Lacy Atkins

NASHVILLE (WSMV) – Gov. Bill Haslam has announced his decision to grant executive clemency to Nashville inmate Cyntoia Brown.

Brown will be released on parole supervision on Aug. 7, 2019, after serving 15 years in prison.

Her parole supervision will continue until Aug. 7, 2029, which is when her sentence expires.

Bellow is the full statement from the governor:

This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case. 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. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.

Brown issued this statement reacting to the news:

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.

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.

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.

I am thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement I have received. We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His Saving Grace.

Thank you to my family for being a backbone these past 14 years.

I am thankful to my lawyers and their staffs, and all the others who, for the last decade have freely given of their time and expertise to help me get to this day.

I love all of you and will be forever grateful.

With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.

Thank you.

Brown’s parole conditions will require her not to violate any state or federal laws. She will have to follow the requirements issued in the release plan set by the Tennessee Department of Correction, including conditions for her employment, education, counseling and community engagement.

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