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Clemency granted by Gov. Bill Haslam

This is a sweet time of justice for Cyntoia Brown as she was granted clemency from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam last Monday after serving 15 years of prison, according to NBC News.

She is expected to be released on Aug. 7 while on parole for 10 years.

This sparked joy for activists and celebrities including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West wanting Brown to get clemency. She was a part of many others who were also victims of sexual assault and rape, yet, justice has turned a blind eye on her.

According to a USA Today article by Preston Shipp, Brown has experienced trauma as a child such as being born with fetal alcohol syndrome, being neglected and ultimately becoming a victim of sex trafficking.

Let’s go back to what happened.

In 2004, Brown shot Nashville real estate agent Johnny Mitchell Allen when she saw him grabbing his gun in bed.

Allen picked her up for sex when Brown was 16 while she was running away from her boyfriend, who was forcing her into prostitution. In 2006, she was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery and was sentenced to prison.

Recently, this case has come to light through social media and petitions have poured in from various supporters to have Gov. Haslam grant Brown clemency. As someone who has gone through horrible things in the past, it is no wonder that many people are wanting her to be released.

Now that her clemency has been granted, we can say that this shines a light on how the justice system deals unfairly with young victimized women who were sentenced to juvenile detention or prison because of their race or their gender.

The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 2012 that 86 percent of women who are victims of sexual assault face prison time.

Unfortunately, we live in a country where this exists especially in Tennessee, which has a history of sex trafficking.

Young black women are more likely 3.5 times more likely to be put in juvenile than young white women according to a report by The Sentencing Project. It is depicted that women who are abused are more likely to end up in jail than men.

It is heartbreaking to see these victimized women, especially black women, still go behind bars because of what happened to them. They do not deserve to be locked up just as Brown does not deserve to be punished even though she murdered a man.

Gov. Haslam felt that way as he said that placing her in jail for 51 years along with parole is “too harsh” according to CNN.

Brown was not an adult yet when she committed this crime, so she was too young to face a punishment so big that it seems unfair.

These young victims do not need to be looked upon as criminals but people who are hurt and need someone to listen to their needs.

Brown’s clemency might give hope to young victims who were abused to get some support to heal from their traumatizing past.

Even Brown wants to support young victims by partnering with Tennessee’s Juvenile System to help them to improve their lives and prepare for a better future.

Gov. Haslam made a decent choice in giving Brown a second chance at life so she is able to start over. She received an associate’s degree from Lipscomb University and is planning on obtaining her bachelor’s degree in May 2019.

About Kelsey Story

I am a sophomore and a staff writer on Perspectives. I love to write stories.

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