Local ministry working with inmates responds to Cyntoia Brown's clemency

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(WBKO) -- On Monday, the Tennessee governor granted clemency to 30-year-old Cyntoia Brown.

Brown was imprisoned when she was 16 for the murder of a man who bought her for sex.

"Cyntoia Brown has had the most unbelievable transformation of anyone I've ever seen," said Houston Gordon, attorney.

She'll be behind bars for 15 years to the date when she's released from jail on parole in August.

"Her story though is a story that should be a catalyst for a lot of others -- thousand of others juveniles," said Gordon.

Brown was originally sentenced for life at 16 for shooting and killing a man who bought her for sex. She told police she acted out of self-defense. Brown's lawyers have stated she was a sex trafficking victim who feared for her life.

"When you're put in a situation like she was and you're not able to get the help you need or communicate with people who can help you, it makes you like your backs up against a wall," said Angela Dice, staff member at Hope House Ministries in Bowling Green that works with inmates.

While Brown was imprisoned, she received her Bachelor's degree from Lipscomb University's LIFE program in 2015.

Now, as Cyntoia Brown celebrates her future freedom, a local ministry, Hope House, has a vision to give inmates in Bowling Green a second chance as well.

"God gives us second, maybe even third, fourth, fifth, you just never know," said Dice.

Brown's past life is one that is still very prevalent in today's society. Dice sees firsthand the kinds of danger women face in certain parts of Bowling Green.

"I see young people, I see people taken advantage of because they don't know any better. I see people taken advantage of because drugs control their life," she said.

For Brown, it was once a life troubled and lost, a second chance not even on the horizon. But now it's there, shedding light on other women in a similar situation.

"It would not surprise us at all if we see similar situations or cases coming up maybe even in our own city where there's another Cyntoia brown in Bowling Green," said Bryan Lewis, Executive Director at Hope House Ministries.

Hope House ministry started as a program for men, but now with women in various classes, they hope to open an all women's program in the spring which will house at least 18 women transitioning from jail.

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