Criminal Justice

Jailed for Life in $11 Robbery, Freed Sisters to Save State Money as 1 Donates Kidney to Other

Jailed for life in Mississippi over an $11 armed robbery, two sisters weren’t scheduled for possible release until 2014.

But the state governor brokered their early release in the controversial case, saving Mississippi a lot of money because one sister, Jamie Scott, is on dialysis. Meanwhile, the other, Gladys Scott, has offered to donate a kidney to her sibling, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

“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,” says Gov. Haley Barbour yesterday in a written statement announcing the indefinite suspension of their sentences after 16 years served.

Among those who have advocated on behalf of the sisters, who had no prior record and say they are innocent of the crime for which they were convicted, is Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts.

Their mother also says they were framed, but “whatever the proximate cause of this ridiculous sentence, the larger cause is clear,” writes Pittts. “The Scott sisters are black women in the poorest state in the union. And as report after report has testified, if you are poor or black, the justice system long has had a tendency to throw you away like garbage.

“If you doubt it, play with the scenario in your head. Try to imagine some rich white girl doing double life for an $11 robbery.”

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