Scott sisters say MDOC denied visit

Published 12:09 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

A book signing at Warren County Vicksburg Public Library by two sisters whose life sentences were suspended in 2011 on the condition that one donate a kidney to the other, was canceled after the women say they were denied entry to the state by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Jamie and Gladys Scott were set to speak and sign copies of their memoir “The Scott Sisters: Resurrecting Life from Double Life Sentences.”

Instead, Jamie Scott briefly spoke via speakerphone to about two dozen people who gathered for the event. As the sisters were preparing to travel from their home in Florida, they were notified that MDOC had denied their permit to travel into the state, she said.

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“We’ve been coming for the last four years,” Jamie Scott said. “We don’t understand. We were not even given a reason.”

Calls and emails to MDOC officials were not returned Saturday.

Several people who showed up for the event said they planned to contact MDOC officials and demand answers.

“This is unreal. I can’t believe it,” said Ezell McDonald, who organized the event.

The Scotts have made appearances throughout the state since they were released from prison in January 2011 on condition that Gladys donate a kidney to her ailing sister.

“Gladys and I just traveled down there in June,” Jamie Scott said.

While in prison, Jamie discovered she had kidney failure and was in need of a transplant. Her sister volunteered as a donor, but the transplant has not taken place yet. A date has not been set, Jamie Scott said.

The sisters were convicted of two counts of armed robbery — a crime they say they never committed — in 1994 and sentenced to two life sentences.

The Scott sisters’ attorney and advocacy groups have long said $11 was taken in the robbery, arguing life sentences were excessive for such a small sum. That amount is in dispute, though: One of the victims at trial testified he was robbed of about $200, while a 14-year-old boy involved in the robbery testified his cut was between $9 and $11.

Neither of the sisters testified at their trial. The memoir was published earlier this year as result of a promise the sisters made to their mother who has since died, Jamie Scott said.

“She made us promise that we would tell our story,” Jamie Scott said.

More than four years after their release, Jamie Scott said, the sisters still struggle with having spent 16 years in prison.

“It’s been challenging. We were told what to do so many times in prison,” Jamie Scott said. “You still feel like part of you is still in prison.”

Despite their release, the sisters were not pardoned and both are on parole under supervision of the Florida Department of Corrections.