Sex trafficking survivor Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison after challenging a mandatory life sentence.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted Brown clemency on January 7 following a recent wave of advocacy for the survivor.
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” he explained in a statement. “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.”
Brown will be eligible for release on August 7. She has already served 15 years in prison and will remain on parole for 10 years. She was convicted in 2006 of first-degree murder and robbery of a man who solicited sex from her when she was 16.
Despite her age, Brown was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. However, in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles are unconstitutional.
Brown initially appealed for an earlier release, but the Tennessee Supreme Court said she must serve 51 years before she can be considered for release.