Cyntoia Brown speaks at Nashville book signing, discussion

Posted at 8:21 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 10:19:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Recently freed Cyntoia Brown spoke at a book signing and discussion in downtown Nashville, focusing on her life and experiences in the Tennessee justice system.

In her book "Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System," she gives people an inside look into her transformation.

Cyntoia Brown case: Governor Haslam grants executive clemency

She credits her rebirth to the education she received from Lipscomb University, human trafficking support groups, and her pen pals, including her now husband.

The book is 297 pages of intimate details of the 15 years she served in Tennessee prisons and what her life was like growing up in Clarksville and Nashville.

She was 16 when she was convicted of shooting and killing Johnny Allen, a Nashville real estate agent, who she says offered to pay her for sex. In her book, Cyntoia argues the justice system needs to change how it processes kids like her, who repeatedly get in trouble.

She writes "too many kids come from families racked by poverty and drug use. No one in court ever bothered to find out how that might have impacted them. That needs to change."

"There's so many things people don't know that they know until we start speaking up about things. So it's important for me to speak about that all those details so people can really gain insight into how the system is working, how it's not working and what can be changed," said Cyntoia in an interview with NewsChannel 5.

She said she is going to serve others for the rest of her life, including the people who rooted for her clemency.

"Everyday I just live in a way that I know they're going to proud of me. I know they're going to know 'I did the right thing supporting her," she said.

Johnny Allen's family told NewsChannel 5 after Cyntoia was released in August that she had not reached out to them directly to speak with them. She says she'd be willing to sit down with them if they reach out to her.