S. Kruzan and C. Brown’s Experience in Criminal Justice System

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Women convicted for murder forced by self-defense often draw the attention of the media or social activists. Sara Kruzan and Cyntoia Brown’s cases were examples of sentences widely discussed in US society. Although there is a decade between the crimes, women’s racial victimization still causes unjust punishment. This essay aims to explore the similarities and differences of these women’s experiences in the criminal justice system.

Both women received lifelong sentences for the murder of a man, and each of them has been recently released. In 1995, 17-years-old Sara Kruzan killed her sex trafficker, who abused her for several years (Krell 4). The teenager was convicted to life imprisonment despite her traumatic conditions and mental disorders caused by violent treatment (Krell 4). A similar sentence was given to Cyntoia Brown, who, at the age of 16, killed and robbed a man who picked her up for sex in 2004 (Allyn 3). These women’s advocates stated that the act of self-defense led to the victim’s death, and, after they were convicted, activists launched many campaigns to draw social attention to such injustice. The crime circumstances were different for Sara Kruzan and Cyntoia Brown because the victim violently treated the former for a long time. Both women are racial minority representatives, therefore social activists could not leave their sentences without attention.

These cases revealed the justice system’s inability to provide detailed investigation, consider the mental state of a defendant, and showed that racial biases exist even in trials. Krell states that “black girls who are exploited through sex trafficking, their lives damaged further by a legal system that too often treats survivors as criminals” (Krell 8). Social activists’ intervention was necessary to revise Sara Kruzan and Cyntoia Brown’s cases, and both started to fight against injustice after the release.

The US citizens’ rights must be equal regardless of gender, race, or life background, and the number of experiences similar to the described above must be decreased. The cases with imprisoned women always have a broad social discussion, thus Sara Kruzan and Cyntoia Brown’s release is activists’ achievement. Sentences that do not consider mental conditions or extreme circumstances of the convicted still occur and damage the justice system’s authority.

Works Cited

Allyn, Bobby. “Cyntoia Brown Released After 15 Years In Prison For Murder.” National Public Radio, 2019, Web.

Krell, Maggy. “How California is Failing Vulnerable Victims of Systemic Racism.” The Washington Post, 2020, Web.

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