Fact Check: Cyntoia Brown Is NOT Still In Prison

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Cyntoia Brown Is NOT Still In Prison She's Released

Is Cyntoia Brown, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man when she was 16, not eligible for parole until she is 69? No, that's not true: Brown is no longer behind bars. She was released on August 7, 2019, after being granted clemency.

The claim reappeared as a Facebook meme (archived here) on July 7, 2020. It read:

Imagine at the age of 16 being sex-trafficked by a pimp called "cut-throat." After days of being repeatedly drugged and raped by different men you were purchased by a 43 year old child predator who took you to his home to use you for sex. You end up finding enough courage to fight back and shoot and kill him.

This is what the post looked at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Jul 14 14:04:22 2020 UTC)

It continued:

Your arrested as a result, tried and convicted as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. THIS IS THE STORY OF CYNTOIA BROWN. SHE WON'T BE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE UNTIL SHE IS 69 YEARS OLD.

But Brown is, in fact, already out of prison. Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted her executive clemency and commuted her sentence on January 7, 2019. She was released on August 7, 2019.

Brown's case attracted widespread attention because of her age and the circumstances surrounding the crime. Her supporters long argued that Brown was forced into prostitution and acted in self-defense when she killed a man who paid to have sex with her. She was tried as an adult and given a life sentence.

Her cause was supported and amplified by various celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West, who spoke about the case on Twitter in 2017. Back then, while Brown was still incarcerated, Kardashian West commented on a meme that's almost identical to the one mentioned above. She wrote:

According to the Tennessean, Brown would not have been eligible for parole until she was 67, if Haslam had not intervened in the case.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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