Cyntoia Brown was released from prison today after 15 years for killing the man who trafficked and raped her.
Brown was convicted of murdering and robbing Johnny Michael Allen when she was 16. Her initial sentence called for 51 years in prison, but Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted her clemency in January.
Several years before Haslam granted Brown clemency, several celebrities spoke up in Brown's defense, including Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, LeBron James, Snoop Dogg and others.
Brown will remain on parole until Aug. 7, 2029.
Bishop Joseph W. Walker III of Mt. Zion Baptist Church says cases like Brown's reveal the need for a redemptive approach to justice. Unfortunately, he says, our society often treats criminals who grew up in difficult circumstances as "problem children."
"People who are plagued by systematic oppression caused by social inequities such as unequal education and impoverished neighborhoods that are riddled with crime, drugs and sex trafficking more frequently find themselves in the criminal justice system," Walker says. "Although many situations merit harsh consequences with regard to criminal activity, there are countless cases where a different approach would bring about a more restorative result."
His church plans to help Brown reintegrate into society by assisting her with job placement and ultimately being her spiritual support system.
Many on social media offered prayers and well wishes for Brown:
I pray Cyntoia Brown gets all the therapeutic and rehabilitating help that she needs.— CFB SZN Is Coming (@theNFLchick) August 7, 2019
When you have daughters, this type of story grabs your heart and make you pray all the more earnestly...! https://t.co/oU4nwVRhhY— Harry Cornish (@HarryCornish) August 7, 2019
Please make sure we're actively praying for Cyntoia Brown! We've seen how difficult the transition from prison to normal society can be, especially for those who went in as a teenager & are coming out decades later, a full adult!— CB.⚜️ (@__CBeezy) August 7, 2019
And I pray she has good people around her!
I pray someone helps her settle into life again. Her life before prison was hard and hopefully she's not so institutionalized that she can't function in this new life of hers. #CyntoiaBrown #FreeAtLast https://t.co/YauAy5qNEP— Maurita (@ThrillIsReal) August 7, 2019
Listen to the podcasts below to hear real stories of trafficking survivors and how God intervened:
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