Two sisters who have been in prison for 16 years for armed robbery are getting an early release with one huge condition -- one has to donate a kidney to the other.
Jamie and Gladys Scott were convicted in 1994 for their part of the armed robbery of two men that netted them just eleven dollars. They each received life sentences.
Over the years the 38-year-old Jamie developed kidney problems. She now requires daily dialysis that is costing the state a small fortune. So Gov. Haley Barbour made a deal with them -- he would suspend the sentences if Gladys, 36, donates a kidney to her ailing sister.
"I think it's a victory," said the sisters' attorney, Chokwe Lumumba. "I talked to Gladys and she's elated about the news. I'm sure Jamie is, too."
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Lumumba said he has no problem with the governor requiring Gladys to donate her kidney because "Gladys actually volunteered that as part of her petition."
Barbour spokesman Dan Turner told the Associated Press that Jamie was released because she needs the transplant. He said Gladys will be released if she agrees to donate her kidney because of the significant risk and recovery time.
"She wanted to do it," Turner said. "That wasn't something we introduced."
Civil rights advocates have called for their release for years, saying the sentences were excessive.
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Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the sisters' release will be "a great victory for the state of Mississippi for two individuals who received an excessive sentence." He also has no problem with the kidney donation requirement because Gladys volunteered.
"I think it's encouraging that she's willing to share a kidney so her sister can have a better quality life," Johnson said.