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After 16 years in prison

Jamie Scott faces health crisis

Published May 23, 2010 10:56 PM

Jim Crow injustice has not ended in the state of Mississippi, certainly not for Gladys and Jamie Scott. The sisters have been unjustly incarcerated in a Mississippi prison for 16 years for a crime they did not commit.

Jamie Scott

The travesty of justice began in 1993 when they were both arrested in Scott County for allegedly participating in a robbery that netted $11. The following year, each was convicted and sentenced to two life-terms in prison. This was despite the fact that neither of them had a prior record of arrests nor was there any physical evidence implicating them.

In spite of this, a court of appeals refused to overturn their convictions. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court denied their appeals.

The case of the Scott Sisters demonstrates that pervasive and systemic racism not only exists in the Mississippi criminal justice system but extends all the way up to the highest court in this country.

Gladys Scott

It also shows how nearly impossible it is for many poor people, especially people of color, to get any semblance of justice or fair treatment in the courts and prisons. This also extends to the lack of decent medical care for those who are incarcerated.

Jamie Scott has life-threatening kidney disease. She is being denied regular medications and dialysis and the type of diet required for her condition. In addition to this, she has developed a systemic infection. Although she was very recently rushed by ambulance to a hospital after fainting, she was returned back to prison, to a cell riddled with insects and mold.

Her family and other supporters say that Scott’s health problems have progressed to such a degree that she must be hospitalized. They assert that she faces a death sentence if she does not immediately receive the medical care that she needs, and that the care being provided by the Mississippi Department of Corrections and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., is wholly inadequate and substandard.

They ask that public pressure be put on the following officials to demand that Jamie Scott be hospitalized immediately, until she is free of infections, and to ensure that her health problems are dealt with fully: Attorney General Eric Holder, Dr. Gloria Perry, Christopher Epps, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. See freethescottsisters.blogspot.com for telephone, fax and email contact information.

At this time, legal assistance is also needed so that the Scott Sisters’ appeals can be reviewed and further avenues can be found for pursuing relief and exoneration. Letters should be sent to the American Bar Association asking for their assistance in providing pro bono attorneys. Email addresses and a sample letter are available online at the above-cited website.

A national campaign is growing to demand justice for the Scott Sisters. It is essential that all across the country, progressive organizations and individuals increase the pressure on public officials to demand their freedom.