Following a group of Nashville Black Lives Matter activists confronting Gov. Bill Haslam on granting clemency to Cyntoia Brown, a state lawmaker is now also requesting Haslam to grant clemency to the Tennessee inmate.
Sen. Katrina Robinson of Memphis has asked Haslam to pardon Brown according to WSMV News 4. Robinson released the following state ment in regards to Brown’s case:
“When I first heard of Cyntoia Brown’s case, I was appalled. Adverse childhood events led Ms. Brown into a life of drugs, forced prostitution, and countless other illegal activities. It seems wrong to sentence a minor to what is essentially life in prison, for decisions they made under duress. While there is nothing our state can do to restore the near decade and a half she has spent in prison, granting her clemency would be a start.”
“There has been a lot of support for the release of Cyntoia Brown, ranging from music icons to elected officials around the nation. Children should not be subject to life in prison. Due to underdeveloped prefrontal cortexes and hyperactive amygdalas, adolescents are more likely to use emotion over reason. The rational decision making part of the brain doesn’t finish maturing until around the age of 25, yet we sentence children to life sentences when they can’t even effectively process their own thoughts and observations.”
“In addition to my letter to Governor Haslam, my legislative team has begun working on a bill that would exempt minors from the controversial bill that required Ms. Brown to serve for 51 years without parole. There is room for improvement in our penal code, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make the changes Tennesseans want. It’s time.”
Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously agreed that Brown must serve 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release. But Robinson says giving a life sentence to a teen — Brown was 16 when she was given her sentence; she’s 30 now — is unjust.
Haslam said that he will make his decision about clemency within the next six weeks when his tenure is up.
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