The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Woman sentenced to life as a teen goes free

by Hannah Harris
Posted 8/07/19, 12:07 pm

As a 16-year-old trafficked runaway, Cyntoia Brown received a life-sentence for killing a 43-year-old man who had picked her up for sex in 2006. On Wednesday, she walked out of prison at age 31 after receiving clemency from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in January. She will remain on parole for 10 years.

What prompted her release? Haslam said her sentence was too harsh, “especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.” As an inmate, Brown, who was aided by a program at Lipscomb University in Nashville, earned her GED and has nearly completed her bachelor’s degree. She also wrote a book, Free Cyntoia, scheduled for release in October. “I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lord’s help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud,” she said in a statement Monday.

Dig deeper: Producer Dan Birman made a documentary about Brown’s life, and advocates often cite her story as an example of the need for juvenile justice reform.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Hannah Harris

Hannah is a WORLD reporter based in Asheville, N.C.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 08/09/2019 01:35 pm

    I guess the sentence Ms. Brown received was harsher than some, and she does seem to have rehabilitated herself while in prison. 

    But questions about the original crime remain, and have been ignored by those advocating her release. 

    Primary among them: this teen hooker was carrying a powerful handgun given to her by the alleged pimp who supposedly was abusing and exploiting her.  And then her extreme threats to some of the officials after her arrest. 

    Nevertheless, I wish only good for her.