Gladys and Jamie Scott, two sisters who served nearly 17 years in prison for an $11 armed robbery, will not be granted a pardon from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Barbour told the Associated Press, when asked about a possible pardon. “Tell ‘em don’t save any space in the newspaper for that to be announced.”
His spokeswoman Laura Hipp also told Reuters that another petition for a pardon would be denied.
The potential 2012 presidential candidate, who is in the last year of his second term as governor, suspended the sisters’ double life sentences earlier this year, stipulating that Gladys Scott donate a kidney to her sister Jamie, who suffers from kidney failure, an operation he then said should be scheduled with urgency. The sisters were released on parole. However, surgery could not even be considered until they lost a combined 160 pounds. Jamilah King previously wrote that the Scott sisters’ poor health could be attributed to their years spent in the deplorable conditions of the prison system. It was furthermore unclear how the sisters would pay for the operation, and if they were even compatible for the transplant.
Gladys Scott said that a pardon would help the sisters find employment, vote, travel freely, and move on with their lives. She told CNN that she has looked for work, but when she disclosed that she is a convicted felon, “they never call me. I never hear from them no more.”
The Clarion Ledger reported that over 100 people marched through downtown Jackson on Friday, demanding a pardon for the Scott sisters and rallying at the Governor’s mansion and the Capitol lawn, where Gladys and Jamie were present.
The sisters, who have maintained their innocence, condemned the prison system at the rally, and want to use the attention they are getting to help others.
“Slavery’s not dead in the South. It’s called the law,” Jamie Scott said. “There’s a lot of Scott sisters sitting in prison right now.”