Meet Gladys and Jamie Scott. The two sisters are each currently serving life sentences in a Mississippi prison.
In 1994, the pair were sentenced to life terms after they were convicted of armed robbery for hitting two men in the head with a shotgun in Forest, Miss., and stealing $11.
The two Mississippi sisters want to go free, but in order for that to happen, one will have to give up a kidney!
Gov. Haley Barbour has pardoned Gladys and Jamie Scott, who were each serving life sentences for an $11 armed robbery. But to be released, Gladys, 36, must donate a kidney to her 38-year-old sister, Jamie, who requires dialysis and needs a transplant.
The women had each served 16 years of their sentences and were eligible for parole in 2014.
Barbour said he decided to suspend the sentences in light of the poor health of 38-year-old Jamie, who requires regular dialysis. The governor asserted that 36-year-old Gladys’ release is contingent on her giving a kidney to her inmate sibling.
“The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society,” Barbour said in a statement. “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 conditions of the Scotts’ release may be odd, but both are obviously ok with it. Their lawyer called the governor’s decision a victory and noted that Gladys Scott had already planned to donate a kidney to her sister.
“It’s been a long time coming. I talked to Gladys on the phone and she was feeling wonderful. I’m sure Jamie is too,” Chokwe Lumumba, the sisters’ attorney, told AOL News by phone today.
He said that while including the kidney as a condition of release “does sound a little barbaric,” Gladys would have donated the organ anyway.
Civil rights activists hailed the latest development and had long rallied around the women, who are black, arguing that their unusually long sentences were motivated by race.
NAACP President Ben Jealous tweeted his approval of the developments late Wednesday evening:
Jealous also praised the governor, telling the Washington Post, “This is a shining example of how governors should use their commutation powers,” he told The Washington Post. Earlier this year, activists marched on the state Capitol to push for the women’s’ release.
Jealous and the Mississippi NAACP had been working for much of the year to win the release of the Scotts. NAACP members received e-mails asking them to sign a petition, and the association has pushed for news coverage of the case.
Barbour said the release was an early parole, not a pardon, and noted that Jamie Scott’s dialysis was costing the state nearly $200,000 each year.
The women are expected to be released within the next 45 days.
BTW… Governor Barbour is weighing a run for president in the 2012 elections. This case and it’s circumstances will definitely be a good look on his “presidential application”.
If given the opportunity, I think any inmate would jump at the chance to donate an organ to avoid a life in the prison system. Seriously… would you give a kidney to avoid a prison life sentence?