Cyntoia Brown Granted Clemency After 15 Years Is Long Overdue
By: Omar Cook
Cyntoia Brown was given a life sentence for killing Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, who bought her for sex at the age of 16 years old. After serving 15 long years in prison, Brown who is now 30 has been granted clemency by Tennessee’s Governor Bill Haslam and will be released to parole supervision on August 7.
"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" Haslam said.
Brown’s case has been a high profile case for over a decade and is an example of how people can get caught up in unfortunate situations. In this case, the prosecutors said that Brown shot Allen in the head as he was sleeping, stole his money, guns, and truck and fled the scene. Brown claimed that she had a fear for her life and took the money in fear of coming back empty handed to her pimp named “Cut Throat.” Brown was a victim of sex trafficking at an early age and was tried as for her crime as an adult.
Brown was the feature of a 2011 documentary called "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story," where she describes being forced into a life of prostitution at a young age, sex-trafficked and raped repeatedly. This nightmare reality that Cyntoia Brown was subjected to only got worse when she was handed a life sentence. This case shows the lack of mercy, compassion and understanding that the justice system has for juveniles especially given the circumstances surrounding Brown and how the case happened. Being sex trafficked is one thing, and being sentenced to life as a juvenile for killing the person involved in the act of your sex trafficking is another nightmare in itself. Cyntoia Brown was dealt a bad hand and it’s about time that her life be given a second chance.
This case shines a light on the injustice of sentencing a juvenile to a life sentence. There are many things wrong with the current justice system and at some point there needs to be some reform. It’s not hard to see that this punishment was too harsh, but how many other juveniles have been subjected to ridiculously long sentences without being given a second chance? If Brown hadn’t been granted clemency, she would have had to wait until she was 51 to go up for parole. Many activists and celebrities have been fighting for justice for Cyntoia and through all of the hard work, her day of freedom will come.