In his last 48 hours in office, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour pardoned 208 convicts, but left two women off the list: Jamie and Gladys Scott.
Efforts to free the Scott sisters have been going strong for over a decade, and last year, the sisters were paroled from prison after serving 16 years of a life sentence on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie. Although the sisters are no longer living behind bars, they say they are still far from free, having to report to a parole officer once a month. And with a felony charge on their record for armed robbery, they say it’s hard to find a job.
“I have to report to the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the rest of my life for a crime I didn’t commit,” Gladys Scott told the Associated Press. “I guess if I had been a murderer, he would have pardoned me.”
An attorney for the sisters says the failure to pardon them is puzzling considering Gov. Barbour granted clemency to dozens of other convicts, including three murderers.
“It is very contradictory to me … that you got people accused of killing people, burning their bodies and all that kind of stuff, killing pregnant people, who are walking free without any restrictions, and the Scott sisters don’t have that kind of freedom,” Chokwe Lumumba told reporters.
Gov. Barbour claims that many people didn’t understand his choice in who he pardoned, saying, “Approximately 90% of these individuals were no longer in custody, and a majority of them had been out for years.”
Lumumba says she plans to petition the state’s incoming governor, Phil Bryant, to pardon her clients. Meanwhile, the sisters have been told by doctors that they must first lose weight in order to undergo the kidney transplantation.
Do you find it odd that Gov. Barbour didn’t pardon the Scott sisters? Do you think the incoming governor Phil Bryant should grant them clemency?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic
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