Sisters to be released from jail on condition of kidney donation
Mississippi governor Haley Barbour granted sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott the opportunity to be released from jail on Wednesday on the condition that Gladys donates a kidney to Jamie.
The Scott sisters were convicted of armed robbery in 1994 when they ambushed two men and robbed them of $11. Until Barbour's ruling, they would not have been eligible for parole until 2014.
The NAACP and other civil rights groups and supporters claim that the African-American sisters received an unduly long punishment for their crime as the direct result of racial discrimination. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP have long been championing the Scott sisters' cause, petitioning for signatures and pushing for news coverage of their national campaign, the Washington Post reports.
"The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi," Barbour said in a statement.
Gladys reportedly volunteered to donate the kidney to her sister, who requires daily dialysis, BBC News reports.
Barbour is considering a run for president in 2012 as a Republican candidate. His decision to free the sisters came a week after he stated that he didn't remember racial tensions during the Civil Rights era "being that bad." The remark aroused the sharp rebuke of many civil rights groups and later prompted him to take back his statement, according to the Washington Post.