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Scott Sisters on Release From Mississippi Prison: 'We're So Grateful'

Jan 7, 2011 – 4:10 PM
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Mara Gay

Mara Gay Contributor

Jamie and Gladys Scott, the Mississippi sisters who became a cause celebre among civil rights activists, were released from prison today after serving 16 years for an armed robbery that netted $11.

Finally free today, they thanked everybody who helped secure their release from prison, from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who suspended their life sentences last month, to God.

"We're so grateful," Jamie Scott, 38, said in a tearful news conference today in Mississippi. "I never thought this day would come." But, she said, "I kept the faith. I do know God will show up."

Gladys Scott, 36, said she was thankful as well. "Praise God," she said.

The sisters' life sentences were suspended by the Republican governor with the unusual condition that one sister donate her kidney to the other, who is sick and needs a transplant.

Their attorney, Chokwe Lumumba, said the sisters were exuberant as they were released to their mother and children from a prison in Pearl, Miss., at 8 a.m.

"They're feeling great. This is beautiful," Lumumba told AOL News today by phone. "I feel like a young fella myself."

In 1994, the Mississippi women were convicted of armed robbery for hitting two men on the head with the butt of a shotgun in Forest, Miss., and stealing $11. For years, activists have said the sisters received such harsh sentences because they are black. Jamie Scott said she would continue to speak out on behalf of other women in the prison. "I won't leave them behind. I will be their voice," she said today.

Jamie Scott is on dialysis and needs a kidney transplant. She said today that she hopes to receive better medical treatment outside of prison. Gladys had already agreed to donate one of her kidneys to Jamie when Barbour included the stipulation as part of their release, but his decision still raised some eyebrows. In December, Lumumba told AOL News that while the arrangement "does sound a little barbaric," Gladys would have donated the kidney anyway.

Lumumba said the sisters must undergo more medical tests before the transplant can take place. He said it's not clear how the operation will be paid for, either. "We still need Medicaid to handle the bill," he said. "Or we'll be looking for donors to help us."
Filed under: Nation, Politics, Crime, Health, AOL Original
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