NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Freedom is something Cyntoia Brown thought she might not see for another 51 years.
That all changed early Wednesday morning when the 31-year-old was released from the Tennessee Prison For Women in Nashville, after former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted her clemency before leaving office earlier this year.
"He saw the Cyntoia that we've seen,” said J Houston Gordon, one of Brown’s attorneys.
Gordon says Brown’s story is an example that people can change educationally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
“I’ve been doing this almost 50 years and it was the most amazing transformation of a human being that I’ve ever seen," he said.
Gordon also says Brown's story should be a wake up call to the short comings of the juvenile justice system.
"It is absurd to think that a child that has a child brain, and a child’s emotions and with no opportunity to grow up like a normal human being, and all of a sudden we’re going to throw them away. I hope we change that,” said Gordon.
As part of Brown's commuted sentence she must:
- comply with an approved release plan
- maintain employment or educational enrollment once placed on parole
- participate in regular counseling sessions
- maintain a regular commitment to community service
Brown released a statement saying, in part, “I look forward to using my experiences to help other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation.”
Gordon says he has confidence Brown will live a happy and healthy life like anyone else.
"She’s going to do what she told them that she was going to do,” he said.