She’s free! Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown on Jan. 7, just days before leaving office, according to WKRN. She is set to be released to parole supervision on Aug. 7 after serving 15 years in prison, and after a widespread advocacy campaign for her release supported by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Bella Thorne, and other celebrities and activists.
In fact, when the news broke, Kim immediately thanked the governor. She retweeted the news and wrote on Twitter, “👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Thank you Governor Haslam 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼.” Sounds like Cyntoia had some powerful people in Hollywood rallying behind her, and between that and the work of activists throughout the country, it paid off.
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Thank you Governor Haslam 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/rAiru84fgn
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 7, 2019
Upon commuting her sentence, Gov. Haslam said 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. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
In 2004, Cyntoia was sentenced to life in prison when she was 16 for killing a man — Johnny Allen, 43. She shot and killed him after he solicited her for sex and brought her back to his home where, as Cyntoia told the court during her 2006 trial, she feared for her life. She also revealed that she was forced into child prostitution by a violent boyfriend who used her to make money.
Though it’s been years since the trial took place, the fact that Cyntoia got such a harsh punishment despite the fact that she was a teenage victim of sex trafficking recently drew the attention of many Hollywood figures. Back on Nov. 21, 2017, Kim wrote on Twitter, “The system has failed. It’s heartbreaking 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.”
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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
On the same day, Rihanna wrote on Instagram, “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.”
Bella also got behind the cause. “I f–king hate our system,” she tweeted on Nov. 21. “I feel so wrecked about this. I’m so so sorry for everyone wronged by our government.”
Thankfully, it sounds like justice will finally prevail for Cyntoia.
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