This week the Mississippi Board of Pardons and Parole is wrapping up there investigation concerning the case of Jamie and Gladys Scott. Jamie and Gladys Scott are two sisters who had no prior criminal records and were convicted of participating in an armed robbery that netted less than $12 and in which no one was injured. The only evidence presented at trial against the sisters was the testimony of the men who in a plea bargain with authorities implicated the sisters in the crime. The witnesses against the sisters have been released from prison for their roles in the crime and have recanted their testimony against the sisters stating that they were threatened and coerced by authorities to implicate the two sisters. The two sisters were sentenced to double life in prison by Judge Marcus Gordon, who the NAACP says has a history of racially biased rulings
Due to the actions of supporters, advocates and family members, the case which happened over 16 years ago has gained world wide attention which many reform advocates say the case highlights the injustices often found in the U.S. criminal justice system which disproportionately incarcerates African Americans.
Due to the horrid prison conditions found in but not limited to the State of Mississippi, Jamie Scott who is now 38 years old is not receiving adequate medical care to address her needs after suffering kidney failure. Jamie Scott reportedly needs a kidney transplant and although there are several possible donors who have volunteered, the private medical contractor Westford Health Sources based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which was kicked out of the state of New Mexico prior to its contract expiring, has not allowed the process to take place effectively handing Jamie Scott a death sentence. Reform advocates point to this as one of the problems of an increasingly privatized prison system across the United States.
Advocates for the sisters are asking that concerned citizens call Governor Hailey Barbour and leave messages petitioning him to grant clemency for the sisters with a provision that they are released without felony records. Advocates are concerned that the sisters will have severe difficulty in restarting their lives because they will be ineligible from receiving public assistance from which felons are excluded. Because of the continued punishment of felons even after they are released, advocates say it is important that they be released without felony records so that they can receive much needed assistance but so that they can secure employment considering how potential employers often discriminate against felons. For more information, go to the Face Book group Action for the Scott Sisters to learn what actions you can take to assist in the cause of justice for the Scott Sisters. The NAACP has an online petition set up for the sisters on their website www.NAACP.org under the take action tab.
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