After 16 Years Behind Bars for an $11 Robbery, the Scott Sisters Will Be Free at Last

<a href="http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/">Free the Scott Sisters!</a>

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The following announcement was issued today by Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, regarding Jamie and Gladys Scott. Mother Jones was among the first non-local media sources to report on the Scott sisters case, back in March. (The story was later covered by the AP, New York Times, and others.) The full story of their arrest and incarceration, and Jamie Scott’s struggle to stay alive in prison, can be found here, with follow-ups here and here.

Dec. 29, 2010

GOV. BARBOUR’S STATEMENT REGARDING RELEASE OF SCOTT SISTERS

“Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott.  In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime.  Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996. 

“To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014.  Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her.  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.     

“The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters’ request for a pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence.  At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.   

“Gladys Scott’s release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for the Department of Corrections.

“I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for their leadership on this issue.  These legislators, along with former Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my staff while the sisters’ petition has been under review.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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