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Friday, March 12, 2010

The Case of the Scott Sisters

It's really time for afrospear bloogers, the national office of the NAACP, and the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights to take a look at, research, investigate and advocate for a new trial and immediate release of the Scott Sisters.

As reported in Newsweek, the blog  Counterpunch.com highlighted a story called “How an $11 Robbery in Mississippi May End in a Death Sentence: The Terrible Case of Jamie Scott.” The writers of the piece, James Ridgeway and Jean Casella, both write for Mother Jones and published the piece for Solitary Watch, a new project in collaboration with Washington and Lee University Law School’s V3 clinic, which will focus on the issues surrounding the rise of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. More HERE

Solitary Watch’s Web material describes how “Solitary confinement has grown dramatically in the past two decades. Today, at least 25,000 prisoners are being held in long-term lockdown in the nation’s 'supermax' facilities; some 50,000 to 80,000 more are held in isolation in 'administrative segregation' or 'special housing' units at other facilities. In other words, on any given day, as many as 100,000 people are living in solitary confinement in America’s prisons.” They link to the New Yorker piece in which writer Atul Gawande explores whether solitary confinement should be classified as torture.

The case of Jamie Scott and her sister Gladys, which Ridgeway and Casella explore, revolves around a 1993 armed robbery, in which—according to their story—approximately $11 was stolen and no one was injured. Both sisters, who were 22 and 19 at the time, young mothers with no criminal records, are now currently serving life sentences in Mississippi where Gov. Haley Barbour's tough record on pardons doesn’t bode well for Jamie. She spent 23 days in solitary confinement last fall and is currently suffering from kidney failure (thus the reference to the "death sentence"). The piece explores her health care under the private prison contractor Wexford, which has faced negligence lawsuits in Pennsylvania and New Mexico.  Read more of the article HERE

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