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Cyntoia Brown Granted Clemency; But There Is No Relief For 182 People With Same Life Sentence

Cyntoia Brown Granted Clemency; But There Is No Relief For 182 People With Same Life Sentence

Date: January 11, 2019

Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman serving a life sentence, has been granted clemency and will be coming home this summer after 15 years in prison. Cyntoia was a victim of child sex trafficking and earned national attention after her case was acknowledged by Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and other Hollywood celebrities.

Governor Haslam’s commutation finally delivered the justice that Cyntoia’s advocates have worked toward for years.

Her much-deserved release is a reason for celebration.

But Cyntoia is not alone.

Tennessee stands out in many ways in its harsh treatment of people serving life sentences.

In Tennessee, Brown is one of 182 individuals serving this exact sentence for crimes committed while under 18 years old.

  • Nationally, over 7,000 juveniles have been sentenced to life with parole.

In Tennessee, 10% of the people serving life sentences with the possibility of parole were under 18 at the time of their crime.

  • Nationally, 7% of people serving parole-eligible life were under 18.

In Tennessee, 11 of those sentenced to parole-eligible life are women, or 6%.

  • Nationally 3% of juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment are women.

In Tennessee, 73% of juveniles sentenced to life with parole are African American.

  • Nationally, 49% of juveniles sentenced to life with parole are African American.

Tennessee has the longest wait period before a parole opportunity in the United States – 51 years.