"Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.
I want to thank those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Ms. Connie Seabrooks for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb LIFE Program. It changed my life. I am also grateful to those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who will work with me over the next several months to help me in the transition from prison to the free world.
Thank you to Dr. Richard Goode and Dr. Kate Watkins and all of you at Lipscomb University for opening up a whole new world for me. I have one course left to finish my Bachelor’s degree, which I will complete in May 2019.
I am thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement I have received. We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His Saving Grace.
Thank you to my family for being a backbone these past 14 years.
I am thankful to my lawyers and their staffs, and all the others who, for the last decade have freely given of their time and expertise to help me get to this day.
I love all of you and will be forever grateful.
With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.
UPDATE: Freed inmate Cyntoia Brown marries recording artist J. Long
UPDATE: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Cyntoia Brown, an inmate recently released on clemency after being given a life sentence at the age of 16, has married recording artist J. Long, formerly associated with the group Pretty Ricky.
Wes Yoder, a representative for Brown-Long, the name she now goes by, confirmed Monday that they had wed, but declined to provide more details, only saying that more would be revealed in the fall. Brown's book, "Free Cyntoia," is scheduled for release Oct. 15 through Atria Books.
Brown-Long was released on probation last week after getting clemency and her case drew the attention of celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna, who lobbied on her behalf.
Brown-Long has said she was a sex trafficking victim at the time she killed a man in 2004.
UPDATE: Cyntoia Brown was released early Wednesday morning from the Tennessee Prison for Women. Her sentence was commuted by former Governor Bill Haslam on January 7, 2019.
Per the commutation, Brown has now been released to parole supervision. As part of this commutation, there are several conditions that must be met including:
- Compliance with an approved release plan,
- Maintain employment or educational enrollment once placed on parole,
- Participate in regular counseling sessions, and
- Maintain a regular commitment to community service.
PREVIOUS: Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has granted executive clemency to Cyntoia Denise Brown by commuting her sentence of life imprisonment. She will be released to parole supervision on August 7, 2019, after serving 15 years in prison.
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said. “Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
Prior to her release from prison, she will complete re-entry programming in order to facilitate a successful transition to the community.
“While we have spent a considerable amount of time studying and implementing sentencing and criminal justice reform in our state, there is more work to be done,” Haslam said. “I am hopeful serious consideration of additional reforms will continue, especially with respect to the sentencing of juveniles.”
READ MORE | State lawmaker wants clemency for Cyntoia Brown
Executive clemency is an act of mercy or leniency by the governor after a criminal conviction. Haslam has previously granted five commutations, 15 pardons, and one exoneration. Haslam continues to review and consider additional clemency requests.
Brown responded to the news showing gratitude to Governor Haslam.