Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mother of Scott Sisters Discusses Their Release

The Scott Sisters are free! Watch videos here.

Below is a podcast of the interview, and at BlogHer.com, this opinion piece is live, "Haley Barbour to Free the Scott Sisters: Beyond Race to the Bitter Aftertaste."

By now many of you have heard the good news that this past Wednesday December 29, 2010, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced that he is suspending indefinitely the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott, African-American sisters who have been in a Mississippi Prison since 1994 on armed robbery charges. Despite neither sister having a criminal record, the two were convicted on the words of three teenage boys who confessed to the crime and received reduced sentences in exchange for testifying against the sisters.

Jamie and Gladys were ages 22 and 20 respectively at the time of conviction and each was sentenced to double life with no chance of parole for 20 years. No one was physically injured during the crime, and the boys who handled the gun and walked off with the $11 stolen, were released years ago. The sisters have maintained their innocence, but whether you believe they are guilty or not, most people concede, after hearing of their sentences, that Mississippi treated the Scott Sisters unjustly. And while supporters are overjoyed at Gov. Barbour's decision to free the sisters, the victory for many seems bittersweet. Jamie has been on dialysis for the last year and one condition of her sister Gladys's release, said Gov. Barbour, is that she donate a kidney to Jamie as soon as possible.

Nordette Adams talks to their mother, Evelyn Rasco, who now lives in Pensacola Florida about their impending release. Mrs. Rasco, with the help of advocate Nancy Lockhart, has worked tirelessly for her daughters' freedom since their conviction. As would be expected, she, too, is overjoyed that after 16 years, her daughters will come home.

In addition, the interviewer discusses with Mrs. Rasco the poor quality of treatment Jamie received while in prison, including sometimes not being given her blood pressure medication as part of her punishment. Both diabetes and high blood pressure can damage kidneys.

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