Free Cyntoia Brown.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said he was considering giving clemency to Cyntoia Brown, the Nashville woman who was imprisoned at the age of 16 for killing a child predator who solicited her for sex. Last week, the Tennessee Supreme stated that Brown, who has been in prison since 2004, won’t be eligible for parole for another 50 years.
Haslam made the comments at an event for education on Monday (December 12th). Justin Lang, a member of Black Lives Matter Nashville division, asked Haslam about Brown.
According to Rolling Stone, this is what Lang said:
Since we’re here talking about education, I wanted to ask a question about one of your Tennessee students and a graduate of Lipscomb University, Cyntoia Brown…As a victim of sex trafficking and assault, this is an unjust sentence in the first place…She has not been treated as a victim of trafficking and not given the justice she deserves…The Supreme Court’s decision that Cyntoia must serve 51 years before she can be considered for parole is a human rights issue. And so I ask you, what really, functionally, is the difference between life without parole — which is no longer constitutional as the United States Supreme Court declared for minors, for any crime — and “you might get parole after 51 years,” for a victim of sex trafficking?
And so I ask why has Cyntoia Brown been incarcerated for 14 years for enduring harm? And so I say, Governor Haslam, you have the power and ability to grant clemency to Cyntoia Brown, and so I ask when will you grant her clemency, I ask what will be your legacy as you leave office, and how will you answer to this human rights violation that the state of Tennessee is committing by keeping her incarcerated?
Haslam responded by saying that the State is “reviewing a lot of cases,” and that they didn’t want to treat Brown’s case like it was special, despite the public scrutiny.
Haslam said that he will make his decision about clemency within the next six week, when his tenure is up. There is currently a petition urging Haslam to grant Brown clemency. The petition has over 500,000 signatures.
Source: Rolling Stone