Scott Sisters to be released from prison

Jan 18, 2011 by

Scott Sisters to be released from prison

UPDATE (Jan 1): Gladys Scott calls NY Times columnist Bob Herbert. Read his column about their New Year’s Eve conversation here.

“I was happy for the Scott sisters and deeply moved as Gladys spoke of how desperately she wanted to “just hold” her two children and her mother, who live in Florida. But I couldn’t help thinking that right up until the present moment she and Jamie have been treated coldly and disrespectfully by the governor and other state officials. It’s as if the authorities have found it impossible to hide their disdain, their contempt, for the two women.”


I just received the exciting news that Governor Haley Barbour has suspended the sentences of Gladys and Jamie Scott, clearing the way for their release from prison in Mississippi.

 

I have written several times about the inhumane treatment of these two women by the so-called “justice system” in Mississippi. Gladys and Jamie have languished in prison for more than 16 years after being convicted of setting two guys up to be robbed of $11. They have steadfastly denied any involvement. They had no criminal record. No one was seriously injured. A jury found them guilty of armed robbery. The two co-defendants who testified against them and received 10-month sentences later recanted their testimony; saying it was coerced by police. The Scott Sisters were sentenced to each serve double-life sentences in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

As I’ve stated before: this has little to do with justice and a lot to do with race.

Many influential people took up their cause including NAACP president Ben Jealous and New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. Civil Rights leader Charles Evers has played a key role in working with the governor’s office.

In the WLBT article, Governor Barbour is quoted as saying,

…the Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the state of Mississippi.”

Jamie Scott became quite ill while imprisoned. She requires regular dialysis. Gladys has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. Gladys Scott’s release is conditioned on the donation of one of her kidney’s to Jamie.

According to the Governor’s official statement, this is neither a pardon nor a commutation of their sentences. It’s an “indefinite suspension” of their sentences, which is tantamount to parole.

Ain’t politics interesting? Many people, including me, will shake their heads at the Governor’s position. But the end result is that this injustice will soon end for Jamie and Gladys Scott. For that, all people who believe in justice and peace should be grateful. I hope that the Mississippi Department of Corrections, which is now responsible for setting a release date for Gladys and Jamie, will do so immediately.

Thomas Norman DeWolf is the author of Inheriting the Trade

 
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