Cyntoia Brown

This request comes from our friend, Preston Shipp:

In 2008, while I was working as a prosecutor, I argued that sixteen-year-old Cyntoia Brown needed to spend her next 51 years in prison, and the Tennessee courts agreed with me.  In 2009, I had Cyntoia in class in conjunction with Lipscomb University’s LIFE Program at the Tennessee Prison for Women.  In a remarkable twist that testified to her forgiving spirit, we became friends, even after we learned that we had been on opposing sides.  Since then, she has demonstrated a remarkable change.  She has revealed just how much potential for good we all have, particularly young people.  And her heartbreaking story has captured national attention thanks to the Twitter accounts of Kim Kardashian, Lebron James, and Rhianna.

Tomorrow morning, the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole will conduct a clemency hearing for Cyntoia to evaluate whether she should be granted early release.  The final decision will be made by the Governor.  Tomorrow morning, a decade after arguing that she needed to spend the rest of her life in prison, I will have the opportunity to argue that Cyntoia deserves a second chance.  Time and proximity are funny.  They can turn adversaries into allies.

So I would appreciate your prayers, particularly around 10:00 tomorrow morning.  Pray for Cyntoia, her lawyers, the other speakers, the parole board, and Governor Haslam.  Pray that our penchant for retribution might give way to something more life-giving, more beautiful and compassionate, and more in line with the gospel of Jesus, who proclaimed release for the prisoners and was always willing to offer second chances.