Cyntoia Brown is now a 32-year-old woman, who was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 16. She was charged with murder and theft despite being a juvenile victim of sexual abuse at the time.
The latest Netflix documentary series, ‘Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story follows her journey and has made her into a public figure. Here is what she is up to now…
She was released in August 2017, when her original sentence was changed to 15 years. A renewed interest in her case received attention from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna. Since being released, Cyntoia has been using the interest in her case to help spread awareness that things need to change in the US legal system.
In October 2019, two months after her release she released her memoir, ‘Free Cyntoia: My search for redemption in the American prison system’. Her book has also been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, and Cyntoia has also been featured in The Washington Post as a guest writer. Here she wrote an opinion piece about how trafficking victims were spending time in jail.
She also gained two degrees during her time in prison, both from Lipscomb University, and says she is considering going to Law School in the future. Cyntoia will remain on parole until 2029 and must abide by certain conditions. For example, she must maintain employment or enrol in education, regularly go to counselling sessions and complete 50 hours of community service.
Cyntoia is now an advocate for criminal justice reform and has spoken at various college campuses to help educate young women during her national speaking tour. She and her husband founded a non-profit organisation, called the ‘Foundation for Justice, Freedom and Mercy’. She also wants to share the importance of community, and how religion helped her to keep faith whilst in prison.
She met her husband, musician and entrepreneur Jamie Long, whilst she was in prison. He had seen a documentary about her case, and wrote to her, to which she wrote back. The pair got engaged in 2017, and even got married over the phone whilst she was in prison two years later. They are still happily together now living in Tennessee and are also hoping to have a family together.
Cyntoia has over 235,000 followers on Instagram, 24,000 followers on Twitter and over 25,000 likes on her Facebook page. She regularly uses social media and likes to keep her followers updated on what she does. Apart from her advocating for a reform of criminal justice, Cyntoia has also learnt how to ride a horse since leaving prison and even gave go-karting a go. But her Instagram also shows her visit to the DC Department of Corrections.
Since her release, Cyntoia has been on the cover of ALPHA magazine, and has appeared on TV on CBS News, The Today Show, The Breakfast Club, and Democracy Now!