This past December I wrote a post about the Scott sisters’ imminent release from prison and the controversial terms that came with it.
Gladys and Jamie Scott, two sisters who have been serving life sentences in jail for 16 years now after their 1994 conviction on charges of armed robbery, are being released on “an indefinite suspension of sentence.”
However, the special condition placed on their release is calling attention from all sides of the political spectrum: Gladys will have to donate a kidney to Jamie, her older sister.
This past Saturday I got to see the Scott sisters and their mother speak live at the 47th Annual Mississippi Civil Rights Martyr’s Memorial Service, Conference and Caravan in Philadelphia, Mississippi. I taped live footage of Gladys speaking, which you can watch on Youtube here.
Although the Scott sisters are now out of jail, they are still fighting for their freedom.
Their suspended sentences come with fees they have to pay for the rest of the time they are on parole, which will extend for the rest of their lives unless they receive a governmental pardon. Women and Prison, a site which advocates for social justice and examination of women’s experiences within the criminal justice system, estimates these fees at $52 a month each.
According to Nancy Lockhart, a legal advocate who played an instrumental role in the sisters’ release, each will have to pay $52 a month for the administration of their parole in Florida.
Since they were serving life sentences, that means $624 a year for the rest of their lives. Both women are now in their thirties; if they live 40 more years, each will have paid the state $24,960.
At the memorial they spoke about the burden of these expenses, their inability to find jobs since being released, and their continued fight for a full pardon from the Governor. Jamie, more vocal than her sister, warned members of the audience that what happened to her and her sister could happen to anyone.
She feels that she and her sister were singled out because of their race, and that people have to continue to fight for Civil Rights in Mississippi in order to protect themselves.
More footage and posts of the memorial event to come.