Cyntoia Brown Released From Prison After 15 Years In Jail For Killing Her Rapist

As much as we would like to think that our justice system is airtight, effective, and above all, just, there have always been circumstances in which those who commit atrocities get off scot-free and those who are merely defending themselves are forced to endure life-ruining punishment.

Laws are incredibly important, but they don't always allow for understanding in extreme or rare circumstances, which begs a difficult to answer question: Is "justice" having someone suffer the proper punishment for the legal crime committed, or does it involve a level of case-by-case empathy?

In 2006, a sixteen year old girl named Cyntoia Brown was sold into prostitution by her abusive boyfriend.

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The man, nicknamed 'Cut-Throat', allegedly sexually assaulted Brown and frequently physically abused her before "selling" her to 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen.

She was then told that she would have to have sex with him for money.

Brown's testimony states that she thought she saw Allen take out a gun.


She then shot Allen in the back of the head in self-defense, killing him instantly.

Prosecutors argued that Brown was attempting to rob Allen, not defend herself.

She was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated robbery, and sentenced to life in prison.

Twitter | @cyntoiabrown

Her sentence meant that she would not be illegible for parole until she was over sixty years old, all for killing the man who assaulted her.

After over 10 years in prison, Brown's story began to gain traction during the #MeToo movement.

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Several celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West and Rihanna began to share Brown's story and actively demand that she be granted clemency.

"Did we somehow change the definition of justice along the way?" wrote Rihanna, "Cause something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away to life!"

On Wednesday, Brown was released from prison.


She is now thirty-one years old, meaning that she has spent fifteen years in prison.

She was granted clemency by Tennessee's Governor Bill Haslam, though she will remain on parole for an additional ten years.

Brown's supporters have applauded the decision and are celebrating her release.

Twitter | @KimKardashian

"Thank you Governor Haslam" Kim Kardashian-West wrote shortly after the news broke.

Haslam states that it was not the publicity of the case that informed his decision, but instead, it was Brown's attempts at rehabilitation throughout her sentence.

"[The sentence] was too harsh," he stated, "Especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life."

She has since thanked the Governor and is looking forward to using her platform to enact positive change.


"I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me," she stated, "And with the Lord's help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud."

h/t: New York Post, NBC News