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Cyntoia Brown speaks on clemency from Gov. Bill Haslam

Cyntoia Brown thegrio.com
Cyntoia Brown (Video still via PBS)

Governor Bill Haslam has granted executive clemency to Cyntoia Brown by commuting her life sentence.

The governor’s office announced the decision Monday morning sharing that she will be released to parole supervision on August 7, 2019, according to Nashville 5.

By that time she will have served 15 years in prison.

“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said. “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.”

At a press conference today, a lawyer read Brown’s statement on her release.

Thank you Governor Haslam for your act of mercy of giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me. I want to thank everyone at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Miss Connie Seabrook for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb Life Program. It changed my life.

I am also grateful to the Tennessee Department of Corrections who will work with me for the next several months to help me in the transition from prison to the free world.

Thank you to Dr. Richard Goode and Dr. Kate Watkins, and all of you at Lipscomb University for opening a whole new world for me. I have one course left to finish my bachelor’s degree, which I will complete in May 2019.

I am thankful for all the support, prayers and encouragement I have received.

We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without him. Let today be a testament to his saving grace.

Thank you to my family for being a backbone these past 14 years.

I’m thankful to my lawyers and their staff, and all the others who for the last decade freely given of their time and expertise to help me get to this day. I love all of you and will be forever grateful.

With God’s help, I’m committed to living the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.

Thank you.

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