by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella

On February 25, a small crowd gathered outside the state capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, to push for the release of sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott, who are serving two consecutive life sentences apiece for a 1993 armed robbery in which no one was injured and the take, by most accounts, was about $11. Supporters of the Scott sisters have long tried to draw attention to their case, as an extreme example of the distorted justice and Draconian sentencing policies that have overloaded prisons, crippled state budgets, and torn families apart across the United States. But in recent months, their cause has taken on a new urgency, because for Jamie Scott, an unwarranted life sentence may soon become a death sentence.

Jamie Scott, 38, is suffering from kidney failure. At the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) in Pearl, where Jamie and Gladys are incarcerated, medical services are provided by a private contractor called Wexford, which has been the subject of lawsuits and legislative investigations in several states over inadequate treatment of the inmates in its care. According to Jamie Scott’s family, in the six weeks since her condition became life-threatening, she has endured faulty or missed dialysis sessions, infections, and other complications. She has received no indication that a kidney transplant is being considered as an option, though her sister is a willing donor.

Jamie Scott’s family and legal advisors believe the poor health care she is receiving in prison places her life at risk. They have sent pleas for clemency or compassionate release to Governor Haley Barbour, whose tough-on-crime posturing and dubious record on issuing pardons do not bode well for Jamie. The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has a provision for what it calls “conditional medical release,” but Scott is not a candidate, department spokesperson Suzanne Garbo Singletary said in an email last week, because “MDOC policy provides that an inmate must have a condition that is ‘incapacitating, totally disabling and/or terminal in nature’ in order to qualify.” So Jamie Scott appears to be caught in a deadly Catch-22: In order to be released from prison, she must convince the MDOC that her illness is terminal or “totally disabling”; but the only sure way for her to prove this is to die in prison.


Cruel and Unusual Health Care

In telephone interviews earlier this week, the Scott sisters’ mother, Evelyn Rasco, described the treatment Jamie has received at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF), based on her own observations and information provided by her two daughters. Jamie, who has diabetes and bouts of high blood pressure, said that medical staff at the prison first diagnosed possible kidney problems in 1997–but until recently, she received minimal treatment outside of her regular insulin. Jamie’s physical and mental health suffered last fall when she spent 23 days in solitary confinement (for being found in an “unauthorized area” in the prison gym) and was cut off from her routine of work, classes, church, and occasional visits with her sister. Then, in mid-January, Jamie became seriously ill when both her kidneys began shutting down. She was sent to the prison infirmary and, after a week’s delay, taken to the hospital. There, doctors inserted a shunt in Jamie’s neck to allow her to receive dialysis through a catheter, and she was promptly returned to prison.

Rather than letting Jamie Scott leave the prison regularly for dialysis, prison authorities chose to truck in dialysis machines.  About three times a week, Jamie has received hemodialysis in a trailer on the prison grounds—if the machines are working properly, which she reports isn’t always the case. At one session, Jamie told her mother, the blood was flowing out of her through a catheter into the dialysis machine—but it wasn’t flowing back in, so the treatment had to be stopped. At the end of January, another inmate looked in on Jamie, who was locked up alone in her cell, and found her unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors told her there were problems with the shunt inserted into her neck. They made adjustments, and she was again taken back to prison.  

Evelyn Rasco, Jamie Scott, and Jamie's older brother. The prison permitted Jamie to attend her sister's funeral--in shackles.

Evelyn Rasco lives in Pensacola, Florida, where she cares for her daughters’ five children while they are behind bars. Since Jamie and Gladys went to prison, Rasco’s husband of 30 years died of a heart attack; another daughter died of congestive heart failure; and her oldest son was away for several years serving with the Army in Iraq. In a letter to supporters last year, Jamie Scott wrote: “When I think of the word ‘strongest,’ I think of my mother. She is 4 feet 9 inches tall and has the strength of Job in the Bible.”

Rasco lacks the time and financial resources to visit her daughters often, but in mid-February, she managed to make the trip to Mississippi. When she visited the prison on February 18, along with Jamie’s 18-year-old son, Jamie was feeling sick but was able to make it to the visiting room. When Rasco returned two days later, she found Jamie in a cell attached to the infirmary. “She was real weak,” Rasco said. “She couldn’t walk.”  An infection appeared to have developed at the site of Jamie’s catheter, which had filled with blood and pus. Nurses reportedly told Rasco that Jamie should be in the hospital, but the paperwork hadn’t been done.

Rasco said that when she entered her daughter’s cell, Jamie was sitting on the edge of a hospital bed with dirty linens, near a toilet and wash bowl that had not been cleaned. Prison staff arrived with a plate of food—a hamburger swimming in grease, some side dishes, and a cookie–but Jamie said it looked so bad she couldn’t eat it. The doctors at the hospital had given her a list of foods she should eat, including meat, fish, and vegetables, but they were not available, and she did not have permission to purchase food at the prison commissary. (That permission has since been granted.) So Jamie sat on her grimy bed eating a Snickers bar.  “She sat right there with me,” Rasco said, “and tried to give me a piece.” Knowing it was the only nourishment her daughter was likely to have, her mother declined.

Jamie Scott says goodbye to her mother before returning to prison.

Since Evelyn Rasco’s visit, Jamie was back in the hospital for a day after experiencing chest pains following dialysis, and to a clinic where her dialysis shunt was again adjusted and she was tested for infections. To date, the family does not know the results.

Evelyn Rasco also said that when Gladys Scott, 34, learned of her sister’s kidney failure, she immediately offered to give Jamie a kidney. If Gladys were to prove a viable match, this would be by far the best medical option for Jamie: Studies show that patients in their thirties who receive successful transplants live considerably longer than those who remain on dialysis. Gladys says that CMCF staff told her that state prisoners don’t qualify as donors, and that a transplant would be too expensive, though there is no indication that their statements reflect official MDOC policy. Rasco said that she was hoping the prison would at least let Gladys to care for Jamie—feed her and bathe her—as inmates are sometime allowed to do for ailing relatives. When Rasco last spoke to her, Gladys had not received the necessary permission.

 Chokwe Lumumba, a longtime activist and attorney who also serves on the Jackson City Council, is representing the family in the medical matter. In an interview last week, Lumumba said, “Our first idea is to get some medical attention into the jail. Asking for a private doctor to go in there and see her.” But what Jamie Scott really needs, he told me, is “to be in hospital until a kidney transplant.”

Suzanne Garbo Singletary, Director of the MDOC’s Division of Communications, replied to several email inquiries regarding Jamie Scott’s care. In one email, she wrote that “MDOC cannot comment on any specific medical condition or treatment for an inmate.” In another, she referred to patient privacy laws when asked whether a kidney transplant was being considered for Jamie Scott. Regarding transplants for state prisoners in general, Singltary said that “the state would pay for a needed and necessary transplant” and would do so “when evaluated the Dr. as needed [sic].” Singletary added in another message: “Dialysis units are fully operational with no malfunctions documented in the past several years.” She also restated the MDOC’s policy that “chronic, but stable, medical conditions are not eligible for conditional medical release consideration.”  

At the Central Mississippi Correctional Center, Jamie Scott’s care is in the hands of Wexford Health Sources, a Pittsburgh-based private company that provides prison medical services. According to information compiled by the Private Corrections Working Group, Wexford’s record includes lawsuits by prisoners and current or former employees in at least four states, as well as allegations involving racial discrimination and improper gifts to public officials. In 2006, the Santa Fe Reporter launched an investigation into Wexford, which supplied health care to New Mexico’s 6,000 prisoners. It discovered widespread complaints about Wexford’s care. 

Those who have raised concerns about Wexford include the company’s former regional medical director, the former medical director of Lea County Correctional Facility (LCCF) in Hobbs and numerous former and current Wexford medical employees. Their allegations are all hauntingly similar:

Wexford refuses to fill critical medical positions. Wexford refuses to grant off-site visits for seriously ill inmates. Wexford refuses to renew critical prescription medicine for inmates. And, according to those who worked for the company, and some who still do, the company’s insistence on the bottom line over the care of its charges causes inmates to suffer, sometimes with lasting, even fatal, results.

The investigation prompted hearings on prison health care in the New Mexico state legislature, and in December 2006, after just two years with Wexford, Governor Bill Richardson ordered the New Mexico Corrections Department to find a new health care provider.   

Wexford’s reported resistance “to grant off-site visits for seriously ill inmates,” is particularly relevant to the case of Jamie Scott, and the potentially dangerous delays she has experienced before being sent to the hospital. The same issue surfaced in a 2002 case in Pennsylvania, where a 26-year-old prisoner named Erin Finley suffered a fatal asthma attack in prison while under Wexford’s care. According to the Wilkes Barre Times Herald, Finley’s family eventually received a $2.15 million settlement, after their lawyer presented evidence showing that “Finley desperately sought medical care for severe asthma she had had since she was a child, but she was repeatedly rejected based on a prison doctor’s belief that she was ‘faking’ her symptoms.” On the day of her death, Finley was taken to the prison infirmary several hours after complaining that she was having trouble breathing. A physician’s assistant examined her and told the doctor she needed to go to a hospital, “but he refused to see her and left the prison at 2:40 p.m. Twenty minutes later, Finley lost consciousness and stopped breathing,” according to the Times Herald. Finally she was sent to the hospital—only to be pronounced dead. 

In Mississippi, where Wexford took over health care for the majority of the state’s prisoners in 2006 under a three-year, $95 million contract, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported in November 2008 that “a search of the federal court system found more than a dozen open lawsuits filed by inmates against MDOC on medical issues.” At Central Mississippi Correctional Facility–the prison where the Scott sisters are housed—the sister of a dead inmate said she watched her brother waste away for months from inadequately treated Crohn’s Disease, an inflammation of the digestive tract. “He literally starved,” Charlotte Byrd said of her brother William Byrd, who died in November 2008. “We watched him turn into a skeleton.” Byrd told the Clarion Ledger that people might lack sympathy for prisoners like her brother, a convicted rapist, but “Even a dog needs medical attention.” She said she believes that “If they are doing him that way, they are going to let somebody else die, too.”  

In fact, Mississippi has one of the highest prisoner death rates in the nation, according to a review of prison statistics carried out by the Jackson Clarion Ledger’s Chris Joyner, and the death rate in 2007 was 34 percent higher than in 2006—the year Wexford took over the MDOC’s medical care. A December 2007 report conducted by the Mississippi Legislature’s Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) concluded that inmates were not receiving timely and adequate medical treatment from Wexford. Among other things, the PEER report found that Wexford “did not meet medical care standards set forth under its contract with the state,” and that the company “did not adhere to its own standards in following up on inmates with chronic health problems.” When questioned about the report and the high prisoner death rates, the Clarion Ledger reported, Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps “said he is satisfied with the contractor’s performance.” The budget presented by Epps for the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2010, shows a request of $37.4 million to Wexford for medical services. 

In response to questions about care provided by Wexford, MDOC spokesperson Suzanne Garbo Singletary wrote: “Jamie Scott is receiving quality medical care for her condition.  Wexford provides basic medical care for all inmates at MDOC prisons.  Inmates are sent to hospitals if the need for hospital care arises.” Singletary stated that such decisions are made by the attending doctor at the prison, who is a Wexford employee. Wexford did not respond to requests for comment.  

Unpardonable Offenses

Nancy Lockhart, a legal investigator and analyst based in South Carolina, has been working with Evelyn Rasco for several years, organizing a grassroots campaign to secure decent treatment for the Scotts and either a review of their case or some provision for their early release. In interviews last week, Lockhart said that she had helped Rasco appeal to the Obama Justice Department, which informed her that the statute of limitations was up for civil rights claims. They plan to try again, offering proof of earlier letters to the DOJ. They have also organized letter writing and email campaigns to numerous state and MDOC officials, and set up a web site. The Scott sisters’ group of supporters is growing, but they have received no meaningful responses to their pleas.

During her recent visit to Mississippi, Evelyn Rasco had the opportunity to confront Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps in person when she attended a meeting at the state capitol on prison budget cuts. She spotted the Epps, whom she recognized from his photograph, walked up to him, and told him about her daughter’s poor health and the problems with her medical treatment. According to Rasco, Epps said that he was getting a lot of messages about Jamie Scott, and that he would do what he could obtain a pardon or clemency for the Scott sisters. He told her that he was “giving his word on this,” although he had no power to actually make it happen himself.

The person who could make it happen is Governor Haley Barbour, whose past record on pardons does not bode well for Jamie and Gladys Scott. Barbour, who took office in 2004, was initially known for refusing to grant any pardons. In his second term he changed course–but only for a particular set of offenders.  A 2008 investigation by the Jackson Free Press found that Barbour had pardoned or suspended the sentences of five murderers, four of whom had killed their former or current wives or girlfriends. All five men were part of a prison trusty program under which they did odd jobs at the governor’s mansion. Writing in Slate, Radley Balko summarized Haley Barbour’s policy on pardons as “show[ing] mercy only to murderers who work on his house.”   

Jamie Scott’s health crisis has also coincided with a protracted struggle between the governor and state legislators over how to handle budget shortfalls. Throughout, the ambitious Barbour, who is talked about as a possible 2012 presidential candidate, has appeared determined to polish his reputation for being both fiscally conservative and tough on crime. With revenue down due to the recession, Barbour implemented a series of deep, across-the-board cuts to state spending in the current fiscal year. Last week the he vetoed a bill that would have restored some of that funding, primarily to education. At the same time, he asked the legislature to put $16 million back into the Department of Corrections budget. “We have the resources to restore funding to our priorities this year,” the governor said in a statement, “including law enforcement and corrections.”   

Against opponents who argued that Mississippi already spends more on prisoners than it does on schoolchildren, Barbour held up the specter of what could happen if prison spending was cut: 3,000 to 4,000 inmates would have to be released early. “The threat of convicted criminals on the streets,” the Jackson Free Press wrote earlier this month, “has provided Barbour a rhetorical trump card in budget negotiations.” 

Jamie and Gladys Scott

Even amidst this kind of rhetoric, it would be difficult to see the Scott sisters as dangerous or violent offenders, although the state of Mississippi went to great lengths to depict them as such. On Christmas Eve of 1993, Jamie and Gladys, then 22 and 19, were both young mothers with no criminal records. They were at the local mini-mart buying heating fuel when they ran into two young men they knew, who offered to give them a ride. Sometime later that evening, the two young men were robbed by a group of three boys, ages 14 to 18, who arrived in another car, armed with a shotgun. 

Jamie and Gladys say that they had already left the scene to walk home when the robbery took place, and had nothing to do with it. The state insisted they were an integral part of the crime, and in fact had set up the victims to be robbed. Wherever the truth lies, trial transcripts clearly reveal a the case based on the highly questionable testimony of two of the teenaged co-defendants–who had turned state’s evidence against the Scott sisters in return for eight-year sentences—and a prosecutor who appears determined to demonize the two young women.

Jamie and Gladys Scott were not initially arrested for the crime. But ten months later, the 14-year-old co-defendant–who had been in jail on remand during that time–signed a statement implicating them. When questioned by the Scotts’ attorney, the boy confirmed that he had been “told that before you would be allowed to plead guilty” to a lesser charge, “you would have to testify against Jamie Scott and Gladys Scott.” The boy also testified that he had neither written nor read the statement before signing it. It had been written for him by someone at the county sheriff’s office, he said, and he “didn’t know what it was.” But he had been told that if he signed it “they would let me out of jail the next morning, and that if I didn’t participate with them, that they would send me to Parchman [state penitentiary] and make me out a female”—which he took to mean he would be raped. The 18-year-old co-defendant who testified against the Scott sisters also said he was testifying against the Scotts as a condition of his guilty plea to a lesser charge.  

But the prosecutor succeeded in depicting Jamie and Gladys Scott not only as participants in the crime robbery, but as its masterminds—two older women who had lured three impressionable boys into the robbing the victims at gunpoint. (This despite the fact that the oldest of the co-defendants was just a year younger than Gladys, and was driving around with a shotgun in his car.) In his summation, he told the jury:

They thought it up. They came up with the plan. They duped three young teenage boys into going along and doing something stupid that is going to cost them the next eight years of their lives in the penitentiary.

That probably makes me, at least, as mad about this case, simply at least as much, as the fact that two people got robbed. That three young boys were duped into doing the dirty work.

The prosecutor also reminded jurors that while Jamie and Gladys Scott admittedly did not have a weapon, the judge’s instructions “tell you that if they encourage someone else or counsel them or aid them in any way in committing this robbery they are equally guilty.”  

It took the jury just 36 minutes to convict the Scott sisters.  And while there was a range of possible sentences for the crime of armed robbery, the state asked for—and received—two consecutive life sentences for the Scott sisters. In contrast, Edgar Ray Killen, the man convicted in 2005 of manslaughter in the 1964 deaths of civil rights workers Schwerner, Cheney, and Goodman, received a sentence of 60 years–meted out by the same judge who presided over the trial of Jamie and Gladys Scott. A direct appeal, carried out by the same lawyers who defended them at trial, failed to overturn the Scotts’ conviction. 

Because they were tried for a crime committed before October 1994, when even harsher sentencing rules were put in place in Mississippi,  the Scott sisters will be eligible for parole in 2014, after they have served 20 years—though there is no guarantee they will receive it. In the meantime, Evelyn Rasco is praying for mercy, for a good lawyer—and for her daughter Jamie to live that long.

57 thoughts on “For Jamie Scott, an $11 Robbery in Mississippi May Carry a Death Sentence

  1. Unbelieveable…. we are living in the 21st Century I thought……….

  2. Please have mercy on this family. Jesus went to the cross for everyones sin so that we may live. God is a merciful, loving, and forgiving God. We all have done something that we should not have done. Ask yourself what if God would not have forgiven us. If he was not going to forgive us he would not have given his life for us. Have mercy on this family. Please let this mother enjoy the rest of her childs life. Please don’t kill someone over $11.00. Let her live. Bring this family some peace. Please release the Scott Sisters. Please do not let Mrs. Rasco daughter die in jail.

  3. The New Mexico story possessed another significant element not mentioned here.

    The medical contractor had “hired” a “lobbyist” in New Mexico, as did Aramark, a food contractor which feeds inmates for less than $1 a meal.

    The lobbyist was an assistant warden for the state of Illinois. She had met Bill Richardson’s New Mexico’s Secretary of Corrections, Joe Williams, at an American Correctional Association conference and began a steamy affair with him conducted largely at state expense. Williams, a former Wackenhut (GEO Group) warden substantially expanded dangerous privatization of state prisons though New Mexico already had a far larger percentage of its prisons privatized than any other state.

    A tablulation of Richardson’s campaign contributions showed the affection was reciprocal. He has done very, very well, as he has catered to the for-profit prison industry. He has even toured the state shilling for them in places such as remote Clayton.

    GEO, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Aramark and Wexford were hardly the only recipients of favored treatment. James Parkey of Corplan, for instance, gave $10,000 to Richardson’s presidential campaign, though there is a $2,300 limit on such contributions. Parkey, who gives mostly four figure contributions to Republicans donates to Democrats occasionally when it suits his agenda. Richardson refunded the $7,700 excess, but it certainly must have moved Parkey’s numerous state privatization projects a bit higher on the radar.

    Richardson was hardly the only one: The NM Senate speaker pro tem, Manny Aragon, changed from a strident critic of the for-profits corporations into their champion after getting contracts for consulting and providing concrete for the construction of their prisons. He was subsequently convicted of skimming about three quarters of a million from another state contract.

  4. Thanks for providing our readers with this important information. Private prison contractors are big donors to political campaigns all over the country. There’s an excellent article about it here that covers NM and many other states:

  5. Security? NO! Humanity? NO!
    Here we get voices:
    >> Follow the Prison Money Trail
    By Silja J.A.Talvi September 4,06, to save construction cost.:
    Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) has already received more contributions from a private prison company than any other politician campaigning for state office in the United States.
    >> Governors need donations for the next election, and interests in warehousing inmates are involved, a well established industry growing since 25 years.
    Some more examples though I’m convinced you know them and better than me, and right, “It’s a huge business,” said Fort Lauderdale defense attorney Bill Gelin:
    Prison Proletariat: Exploiting Inmate Labor, 03/28/2007
    >> Society of the Incarcerated: Acknowledging the Voices of America’s
    Ever-Increasing Prison Population, by Anna Clark – USA – May 19, 2008

  6. This is the worst case of justice I have ever heard of. Murderers, rapist, drug trafficers doesn’t get this much time in prison. I say they have served too much time for the crime. LET THEM GO HOME.

  7. I’m a psychiatric physician working in prison health care. As the article accurately points out, health care for prisoners is abysmally poor and indifferent.

  8. In a country where two people of the same sex can marry, prayer is not allowed in school, unnessary litigation – we have two sisters in prison for a possible death sentence for an $11 armed robbery charge?


  10. All I can say is GOD is able!!! He knows us better than we know ourelves…. He knows that the scales of justice are unbalanced for a reason…. I’ve had the privilige of meeting Jamie and although the state of Mississippi has her body they most definitely don’t have her soul.. She is indeed a fighter that refues to give up.. She said to me “Even though I’m sick I’m not walking out of here without my sister, we walked in together and we’re walking out together” we all know there is power in the tongue and I believe that justice will find them before it’s too late.. To God be the glory!!!

    Jamie your strength is an inspiration to us all.. May God bless and keep you and your family…

  11. I see more innocent people behind bars. Its amazing how many innocent are incarcerated. Nobody is guilty are they!!!!

  12. its not about the color for me i just would like 2 see these girls free and put this behid us there has been alot of wrongful term in prison but god is still on the throne and justice will b serve on day u cant put color in jail cause we still have 2 pay taxes on anybody do wrong 2 gods people it will come back and it want b long GOD BLESSED AMERICA WE ALL NEED JUDGEMENT IS COMING SOON

  13. Unfortunately, this inhumane treatement does not touch the hearts of many of our fellow citizens. However, the cost does. The Scott sisters have been in prison about 17 years. In Miss. the annual cost for a healthy inmate is about $20,000. Multiply that times 17 years for a total of $340,000 each to the tax payer for an $11 crime. That doesn’t include the medical care. If they serve life, say 50 years each, that is one million dollars each for an $11 crime. Is that “Tough on Crime” or tough on the tax payer? There are smarter, more humane, and more productive ways to punish. Norway does it and their recidivism is 20%. Ours is abut 65%. Whose system is working? Tough on Crime is a political buzz word that DOES NOT WORK. How about Smart on Crime instead?

  14. OMG!!! I am appauled by reading this! It angers me that in the 1990’s & 2000’s people still act like this! This woman is dying slowly from kidne failure & they are saying that it is not a necessity for her to receive a transplant or to be hospitalized…are you freaking serious! I tell you i have visited mississippi several times & actually liked where i visited & alot of the people there were very nice, but it just behoves me that we still have racist A-holes as judges & governors! My heart truly goes out to the scott family especially for jamie! I just want to hug her & just let her know god will see justice! And how in the world are they still locked up for not even stealing anything? Absolutely nothing! And to get a double life sentence..smh! Im listening to the michael baisden show & a radio personality who broadcast out of mobile alabama said on his show that the judge who sentence the sisters had a problem with the scott/rasco family. How low can you be? And this judge wants to run for president in 2012…oh heck no he will not get my vote any time you rather put more money in corrections than education. No wonder mississippi has 1 of or is the lowest state in the nation with education. They dont care about the children there…OBVIOUSLY! I just pray that jamie is able to see the day that her sister or someone can give her a kidney and or see justice for this horrific sentence. Its sad that we are just hearing about this but god works in mysterious ways so it was meant for the world to finally know what the government is allowing wexford medical to do & how they are caring for inmates. I dont care if they were a murderer a rapist or a robber no one deserves to suffer no one. Oh lord i pray a brighter day will come soon for these women. Thank you!

  15. Certainly there is a need for the media and communities from every state to stand by these sisters in order for justice to be served. Media has placed President Obama in office, togetherness, standing strong and continuity will continue to keep him in the office. Jesus is King of Kings and still reigns among us. Scott Sisters he will not allow you to endure no more than you can handle for he was crucified for our sins and has experienced all the suffering for us. I pray that whomever, whatever, wherever, and according to his will that our Father says “enough is enough” and you will be freed in Jesus name. This is just an example of “slavery and punishment”. It must cease and only our Father can accomplish it. My prayers are with Scotts’ family that you will continue to stand still while our Father takes control and frees the sisters and their families.

  16. Lord have mercy.

    It appears that the jurors/judge had no mercy for these young ladies. Animals are being treated much better.

    O.M.G Please let these young ladies go home to their mother and children.

  17. No matter how “compassionate” Gov. Barbour appears to be,
    he should NEVER receive a single black vote for ANY OFFICE.

    Where were the Commanders-In-Chiefs of this Nation??????

    What a DISGRACEFUL mear on the “blind lady” of Justice!!!!!!

  18. this is a shame that these young lady are being treated this way u got people that have murder people and not get this much time its time to let these sisters go home do the right thing for once in your life governor HALEY BARBOUR may god be with them

  19. I have a brother who was a choregrapher with no prior record and he was sentence to 50 years at age 43 (death Sentence) based on two of sisters who claimed he sexually assaulted them while they were part of his dance company for about 10 years and they didn’t come forth to about 8 years later. No physical evidence, no witnesses, they couldn’t remember things in detail. One sister said she was married while the other said that the sister wasn’t and to top it off the Prosecutor acted like an expert witness and told the juror the reasons why the girls couldn’t remember because at age 12 children have a hard time to remember. Yet the judge did provide curative instructions 3 days later but what impact did that really have on the juror. Moreover, just like the Scott sister the judge had a reputation of giving out harsh sentencing and the prosecutor was out to make a name for himself. And to top it off the Judge retired and the prosecutor moved to Florida after the case. So we are still fighting against excessive sentencing. I spoke to many lawyers who said they never heard of a judge giving consecutive sentencing for the same charges. So I clearly understand and its so said because I don’t want my brother to die in prison.

  20. The South still has hate for the Black Race, it really is time to let go, my husband had a friend and his sonwho was killed by a white drunk driver and this guy got only (2) years
    and and a few months of house arrest. No one has identified these ladies as the robbers no proof, maybe the Sheriff need to be investigated all over again. The crime is the Sheriff and who ever else helped to rail-road these ladies into prison, now one is deathly ill and still no
    compassion for another human being. I pray for the Scott Family to stay strong our heavenly father will make a way for these ladies to be re-united with their children and Mother again. My LOVE and PRAYERS are with them.

  21. *********$11.00………………………………… the total sum of injustice!!! ************
    ……I have seen and heard of so many stories; but never one like this for such a petty crime. For the person that wrote the sarcastic reply stating “Nobody is guilty are they!!!!” YOU ARE DEAD WRONG and this case is the proof. The guilty ones are the ones who allowed this to happen and called it “LAW, LEGAL, JUSTICE”!!! To misuse the criminal system and political office in this manner is in itself a CRIME. And for ALL who took part in this miscarriage of justice……sleep well for the day of true judgment is at hand and may GOD have mercy on your souls. GOD be with the Sisters and their families. And, regarding the Obama decision that the statue of limitations ran out on Civil Rights Crimes… WOW, are they saying that Civil Rights were violated…..hmmmmmmm????? What a thought. Please keep writing , for they are few and we are many…… IN JESUS CHRIST NAME, I PRAY AMEN.

  22. I just heard of the Scott sisters this year. Why heard anyone been talking about them. This is so very unfair. This kind of hostility toward these young ladies just not right. To God be the glory. Iam praying for the sisters. I pray that they are released very soon. To the jury and the judge and everyone involved I hope they can sleep at night. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AND TO THE MOTHER KEEP THE FAITH GOD IS REAL.

  23. The thing that sticks out to me the most about this story is the fact that there were two boys who admitted that they were forced by authorities to lie on the Scott Sisters to say that they were apart of this crime, and even the victim came forth and stated that the sisters had nothing to do with him being lured into the woods and robbed smh. Everytime I read this it brings tears to my eyes. I will continue to pray for Gladys and Jamie, and help in anyway that I can. I guess because nobody marched for them like they did for those young men who were apart of the Jena 6, they ended up here smh. I have tears as I type this, JUST CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THEM!!

  24. WOW! I am realy blown by this crap.. INJUSTICE ! INJUSTICE! INJUSTICE! mike vicks dogs received better treatment than this. wheir are the stars on this matter?? hey puffy! hey bill! hey sports player’s ect, ect, the one’s with the deep pockets. The Scott sisters need help. JESUS we need you now! To all my brothers and sisters stay away from crime.. the system is not fair as you can see. We all have family and friends that are shady. Stay away
    from them, they will bring you down.

  25. Such a sad and tragic situation, its insane how the law is. That the innocent have to suffer just because they were put into a bad situation which they did not put themselves into. Now because of the blindness people endure they are in jail, even if $11 no one got hurt come on be realistic. Those boys are the ones who should be in jail not them. My heart truely goes out to them and their families.

  26. Anyone can see this sentence is totally wrong, for $11..So lets go down the rabbit hole past the obvious.. In 30 years of dealing with the criminal justice, I ve have never seen any caucasion receive any sentence close to this for a simular crime, even if the $11 dollars was all the victim had and it was grand theft, weapons and conspiracy implications. The simple answer is, In Mississippi they can no longer lynch ppl so they have to inflict terrror on minorites by showing you, basically if u commit any crime, you can possibly go to jail for life..Thats all this sentence is about…sending a message..

  27. Pingback: Media’s “Discovery” of the Scott Sisters | People Of Color Organize!
  28. Governor Barbour should “man-up” as he did (and made us all proud) in the aftermath of Katrina and admit that this ladies have been released because “enough is enough”. Even “if” they were guilty, double life sentences was idiotic to say the least. The national media is again coming down on Miss. and the governor should find his nodes as he did a few years ago and be a man.

  29. As I looked at the pic of Jamie Scott that looked like me. I am a nurse and I can see the kindness in that face. Now the other sister may be bad. But it is just bad luck that they were at the wrong place wrong time. I will never live in Mississippi. What a cruel state to lock someone up over $11 and have taxpayers to pay for it. I really hope Scott family get a good lawyer and sue that state.

  30. Barbour is a complete piece of crap. After Katrina he was able to use impact money to help build prison for CCA, the Corrections Corporation of America.

    They have taken very, very good care of each other.

  31. I feel that the scott sisters where treated unfairly I also think that she should be released so she can get the proper medical treatment and if her sister is a match they should allow her to do that for her sister that’s the least the state of mississippi can do after convicted them for $11.00 that’s really ashame well they found a black man hanging from a tree in Greenwood,ms last month.

  32. Even if they were *guilty* of planning the robbery, it doesn’t make sense that the perpetrators of the violent part of the crime get light sentences while the Scott sisters get life.

    And double life for such a petty crime? The average sentence for convicted rapists in this country is only 117 months. Average sentence for a murderer is 25 to life – not a double life sentence. This is so out of whack! Our justice system is broken!

    Something like this crazy, draconian sort of sentencing would *never* happen to a wealthy person – even one who had stolen a hell of a lot more $$ than $11 and was caught red-handed. It’s those same “isms” we can’t seem to quell at work again: racism and classism! The wealthy commit many crimes, but you don’t see them serving such long sentences – we prefer to throw the book at the less powerful.

  33. The only thing more horrific than the sentence was the needlessness of Jamie Scott’s kidney failure and Gladys Scott’s sacrifice of one of her kidneys.

    I published how to prevent diabetic and hypertensive kidney failure 8 yrs ago, in 2002. The news has been effectively suppressed. The Scott sisters, obviously, aren’t the only victims. The 100,000 Americans who go on dialysis each year, the 400,000 currently on dialysis, and the 100,000 who die each year on dialysis, are the victims. Of course, African Americans go on the kidney machine 5 times more than whites, and Hispanics 3 times more than whites. So keeping my paper secret is as racist as the Scott sisters’ sentence.

    The details are at

  34. The ongoing misinformation campaign concerning the Scott sisters serving time for an $11 robbery is enough to make one lose his dinner. The fact that the sisters participated in a crime where the VICTIM’S life was placed in danger, having been beaten over the head with a shotgun for that mere $11, is the more important consideration here. Leave it to the irrational liberal mindset to use the small amount of money taken from the victim to defend the criminals’ “rights” over the victim’s. The sisters participated in a crime that very well could have resulted in the death of the victim. They are very fortunate that it did not, or they very well may have received the death penalty for committing murder in process of committing armed robbery.


  36. @David Moskowiz MD

    In the off chance that you have never heard of this program I would like to share this link with you. I know about from there fine work on Juvenile Justice but I have noticed that they also have medical program. It sounds to me that you two are a good match.
    I hope it is and good luck! Here is their medical program link.

  37. Mississippi my home and sad enough it is a morden plantation that for reasons that are buried deep on the backs of my grand parents who have suffered the hard scrabble lives of many downtrodden individuals. While I realize that this is among the worse case of inustice I have ever read about I am not surprised by a state where deprivation of poor races is such a widespread issue. It remains evident that Mississippi has not changed it’s true color thay remain last and will continue to be last until such time that bigotry and hate is placed at the feet of Jesus for pardon. While it is still in a deep sleep that resembles a coma I pray that the mercy of God will prevail and the Scott sisters will be freed despite the ongoing suffering of others in the middle of the sweat and cottonfields of Mississippi. Our Father sits high and looks low and he knows the heart of every man and although the deeds of those that crack the gavel may be hidden; it is in the light of God’s view and May God Have Mercy on the Souls of every person who imparted these sufferings of these sisters in any way shape or form. Because just in case you forgot God IS IN CONTROL…

  38. Thank God that justice was finally served. I don’t remember the last time I read a story more tragic and inhumane as the story about these two sisters. I don’t believe they committed a crime to begin with but the medical treatment (or lack there of) that Jamie received is inexcusable. Why don’t the prison’s know what kind of treatment is being handed down to their inmates? Why aren’t they concerned enough about human life to do something about it? What is the world coming to when things like this take place?

    I pray for these sister’s and their family. God bless!

  39. This horrible injustice in Mississippi and the Correctional System should frighten any one of any color. That a medical contracter be kept on when they are responsible for anyones death is unforgivable since you were told of very poor services. Someone is in somebodies pocket. The Judge, Distric Attorney, Jury, and Aressting Officers who coerced the teenagers should be faced with their own criminality. Where they have done this in one case I am sure there are others, but this one is the worst merry-go-round I have ever heard of. I will be praying for these sisters and family for health and release, for only God can make a miracle.

  40. This is a horrible example of injustice in the State of Mississippi and the Correctional System. It’s very wrong that prisoners should die from a rich contracters unforgivable life threatening services. These people should be ashamed for their practices and be fired.
    To give these women 2 life sentences I think the Judge, Distric Attorney, Jury and the Arresting Officers who duped the teenagers, should face their own criminality towards these sisters and the possibilty of the death of one. If this happens expect a lawsuit for millions of dollars you idiots. Iwill be praying for these sisters for only could make a miracle.

  41. Oh My God, Lord have mercy, this is very cruel and may God be with these sisters and may he have mercy on the false accusers. “Vengence is mine saith the Lord” i will repay saith the lord. We must forgive if we want our heavenly father to forgive us. My prayers are with these sisters.


  43. They were convicted of a crime, given Life in Prison. End of discussion. What ever happens now is up to the powers that be. Dont like the treatment, dont do bad things

  44. Please explain how this can be called justice. I realize the young ladiescomitted a crime, however two life sentences in which no one was hurt is over kill” The judge that issued the sentence still a sitting on the bench?

  45. I don’t think anyone really is questioning the need for jail time for anyone who is convicted of participating in armed robbery. I believe the outrage, and rightly so, is the application of such a drastic sentence for the crimes committed. Some of the posts above suggest that all crimes are created equal – i.e. “if you break the law and go to jail for life, then you shouldn’t of done it.” Life is just not that black and white. Hopefully those individuals with that view are not involved in dispensing any justice to others….. What a harsh society we would indeed live if this view of justice was the norm!

  46. thats a very bad thing that happen to those young ladies all that time they spent in jail for something that they didnt do the state of Miss. need to be suited for this and i hope these ladies win this case praying for yall ladies and your families

  47. i do not know how to wright to much u know bad spelling but i read the story and broke my heart.god is the only one to judge people and this sis. have serve there time ,there should not be no discrination bec. the ladies are black .i know discrination is killing america there are so many rumors going on abt people hating people when is it going to end we all should love one another i still remenber the word (i have are dream,yo tengo un sueno by dr king may he rest in peace america is beautiful and hate is ogly we should all fight for our right. best wishes and i hope this case turn right for the sisters and there family. iam a ex truck driver and white spanish from cuba and i been in the states for over 40plus years

  48. I feel so sick inside that I could hardly think or even find anything to say. Madoff took so many people’s money and now lives in a five star hotel free, he doesn’t have to pay rent, buy food or anything else and he gets the best. The only reason he was even charged is because of the people he robbed. It still boggles my mind about the heartlessness of these prosecutors and others in the legal system who would commit these crimes and the judges who would stoop with them. God is alive and well and when we think that He doesn’t see or hear he is right there with us. We have so many pastors and other religious people doing so many wrong things and getting into political trivialities and talking filth and they will never stand up for the poor man who is sending and giving them their widow’s mite. They are writing books and making movies just to make money and give themselves names. I really do thank God that He is alive and that we could count on Him to be there for us. I don’t understand why everything has to be contracted to private corporations, those people care about no one, they care only about the trillions that they receive and the politicians who hand out these contracts are of the same fabric. God help us all. I am so happy that Jamie and Gladys are now home and I am trusting the Lord that everything goes well for them. It is so wonderful to see that people still care enough to protest and try to get justice. Thank God.

  49. i am a corrections nurse…this happens all the time…NURSES arent allowed by The Geo Group or corporate to help these inmates…records are falsified, wounds oozing with pus are treated with saline and gauze (physicians order), inmates arent on medication for serious ailments such as crohn’s disease, kidney disease etc. THEY LET THEM DIE!!! I took care of an inmate with very similar problems END STAGE RENAL DISEASE who they wouldnt even put on dialysis. If a good nurse refuses to sign a medication record because the medication wasnt at the prison…another nurse will sign her initials (reported to the board of nursing) NOTHING WAS DONE…this nurse still works at the same prison I do…Inmates are often given the wrong medication, or no medication because its not available…needless to say….im torn between trying to stay and be a good nurse at this facility (fighting corporate and getting treated badly) or just calling it a loss and finding a new job….

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  52. OK PEOPLE! LISTEN UP! IF NOBODY ELSE IS GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT THESE TWO FEMALES, I WILL! I was locked up with both of them for three years and neither of them are the Angels people are trying to make out they are. They were both liars, users, haters, abusers, snitches, do anything to anybody to get their way females! They had the guards wrapped around their finger! They got away with more than any other inmate there. Jamie risked her own life because she ate like a horse and refused to stick to a diabetics diet! The facility did offer her diabetic meals but she thought she knew better than the doctors. They both used officers, teachers and other inmates to get what they wanted. I agree the sentence they received was rediculous and way too harsh! I don’t agree with a full pardon. They were involved in a crime so they deserved some punishment. A pardon would be like saying they are innocent. I don’t believe an innocent person would have conducted themselves the way these two females did in prison. I also agree that the medical department could be improved but the inmates who don’t do what they are told to do by the doctor wouldn’t benefit anyway. I feel bad for these females for the time they got and the time they had to spend, but I don’t feel bad that they still have this on their record because just like me they were found guilty and are felons. I have to live with it on my record so why should’nt they?

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