In seven months, Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison, having been granted a full commutation to parole by exiting Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Cyntoia has already served 15 years of a life sentence. When she was a teenager, Cyntoia experienced continual violence and was engaged in survival work. At the age of 16, she shot Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old client who she says initiated their interaction by talking down her rate for paid sex. Allen would later become violent, according to Cyntoia, causing her to fear for her life and take actions to protect herself. She won clemency as a result of a sustained grassroots mobilization rooted in the belief that Black women should not be punished for surviving — using any means necessary.
JANUARY 15, 2019 / by Brit Schulte
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