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    Mindy McCready: Free at Last

    It may be a new year, but time will tell if it's also a new Mindy McCready.

    The trouble-prone country warbler was granted early release from Tennessee's Williamson County Jail Sunday after more than five months in lockup on a probation violation charge.

    "I'm so happy to be out," the 32-year-old singer said. "I'm the happiest girl in the world right now."

    McCready was greeted by her manager and family upon exiting the jailhouse—and kissing its gates—just after 9 a.m. Sunday. The "Guys Do It Every Time" songbird had been behind bars since July, when she was arrested in Florida on charges of battery and resisting arrest, stemming from a domestic dispute with her mother.

    McCready was formally sentenced to a year of incarceration in September as a result of the Florida bust, which violated the terms of a 2004 drug arrest. In that case, she was sentenced to  three years' probation for obtaining the painkiller OxyContin with a fake prescription.

    At the time of her sentencing, the singer received credit for 75 days already served. Her term was further shortened for good behavior—something she plans on continuing outside the confines of jail.

    McCready, whose woes include a suicide attempt, drug overdose and hospitalization after a beating from her ex-boyfriend, said she plans to turn her life around by focusing only on those things that truly matter to her.

    "Oh, my God, I'm gonna work," she said. "Work, work, work. And sing. And go see my son, who I've missed more than anything you can possibly imagine."

    McCready's son, 21-month-old Zander McCready, has been staying with the singer's mother at her Fort Myers residence since the country star's bust.

    And while the sprung singer has completed her jail time, she has not yet made good on her debt to society. McCready will remain on probation for two more years.

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