Conditions of confinement: Why we call and write.

SCOTT WATCH
July 4, 2010

Dear Supporters:

Jamie and Gladys would like to thank all supporters for everything that is being done to assist in securing their freedom. They would especially like to thank The Gray Haired Witnesses for the most recent Washington, DC event.

Jamie sends a special thank you to everyone for contacting the Health Department regarding conditions at MDOC’s- Quickbed Unit which is where she and many other inmates are housed. She has said that the prison made noticeable improvements and are continuing to do so. Many other inmates have also expressed their thanks to everyone who called and wrote the Mississippi Health Department. The Health Department did visit the prison and it has made a great difference in the lives of inmates.

Mrs. Rasco said that Jamie has broken out in boils again. The medical clinic has given her antibiotics and hopefully this will clear her condition. Although Jamie is sick; she is in very high spirits because of the improved living conditions. I would personally like to thank Ms. Gloretha Darlene Pinckney-Gray for sharing the idea of contacting OSHA and the Health Department. Ms. Gray – you have made a difference in many lives there at MDOC – Quick Bed. We thank you!

Jamie’s Birthday is on July 16th and she would very much appreciate receiving cards and letters from supporters. Please write to Jamie Scott at the following address:

Jamie Scott # 19197
CMCF/2A-B-Zone
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8850

Anyone who wishes to send funds directly to Jamie for her commissary privileges may do so by following instructions provided via this link.

http://www.mdoc.state.ms.us/Sending%20Money.htm

Free The Scott Sisters T-Shirts are available and may be purchased via the link below. Thank you to Paul Lefrak for organizing this and to Jack and Mike for picking up the torch! Please order your shirts, wear them and assist us in spreading the word.

http://www.radicaljack.com/scsit.html

Last but not least, a documentary is now being produced of The Scott Sisters, their family and this tragic case. The producer and his team are working around the clock to meet deadlines and ensure that all bases are covered. This documentary should be released in a few months!

In Solidarity,

Nancy R. Lockhart, M.J.

Conditions of confinement: Why we call and write.

July 4, 2010

Dear Supporters:

Jamie and Gladys would like to thank all supporters for everything that is being done to assist in securing their freedom. They would especially like to thank The Gray Haired Witnesses for the most recent Washington, DC event.

Jamie sends a special thank you to everyone for contacting the Health Department regarding conditions at MDOC’s- Quickbed Unit which is where she and many other inmates are housed. She has said that the prison made noticeable improvements and are continuing to do so. Many other inmates have also expressed their thanks to everyone who called and wrote the Mississippi Health Department. The Health Department did visit the prison and it has made a great difference in the lives of inmates.

Mrs. Rasco said that Jamie has broken out in boils again. The medical clinic has given her antibiotics and hopefully this will clear her condition. Although Jamie is sick; she is in very high spirits because of the improved living conditions. I would personally like to thank Ms. Gloretha Darlene Pinckney-Gray for sharing the idea of contacting OSHA and the Health Department. Ms. Gray – you have made a difference in many lives there at MDOC – Quick Bed. We thank you!

Jamie’s Birthday is on July 16th and she would very much appreciate receiving cards and letters from supporters. Please write to Jamie Scott at the following address:

Jamie Scott # 19197
CMCF/2A-B-Zone
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8850

Anyone who wishes to send funds directly to Jamie for her commissary privileges may do so by following instructions provided via this link.

http://www.mdoc.state.ms.us/Sending%20Money.htm

Free The Scott Sisters T-Shirts are available and may be purchased via the link below. Thank you to Paul Lefrak for organizing this and to Jack and Mike for picking up the torch! Please order your shirts, wear them and assist us in spreading the word.

http://www.radicaljack.com/scsit.html

Last but not least, a documentary is now being produced of The Scott Sisters, their family and this tragic case. The producer and his team are working around the clock to meet deadlines and ensure that all bases are covered. This documentary should be released in a few months!

In Solidarity,

Nancy R. Lockhart, M.J.

Mumia and the Gray-Haired Witnesses

SUPPORT THE GRAY-HAIRED WITNESSES FAST FOR JUSTICE!
JUNE 21, 2010 — WASHINGTON, DC
10 AM – DEPT. OF JUSTICE
12 NOON – WHITE HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE
1PM-9PM – LAFAYETTE SQUARE PARK


We need your support in bringing national attention to the case of the Scott Sisters and all other women who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced, punishing and destroying our families and children, please plan to participate!

—————————-from Mumia Abu-Jamal————————–


IN SOLIDARITY:

Dear Gray-Haired Witnesses:

It’s wonderful that y’all are supporting the Scott Sisters of Mississippi.

I salute you all for your efforts to obtain justice and liberation for them.

From the dawn of human time, the ‘gray-haired ones’ — the elders, were the communal repository for knowledge of things seen and unseen.

This arises from the great respect accorded the aged in African traditional society.

That sistas such as y’all are doing this, in this society of coldness, repression and what I call the ‘Prisonhouse of Nations’, is a good and necessary thing.

As Michelle Alexander has written, the prison industrial complex is the ‘new Jim Crow’.

So, the battle continues.

So, kudos. i salute you all.

Ona Move! LLJA!

Alla best,

Mumia (Abu-Jamal)

—————————————————-


Solidarity, a democratic revolutionary socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization, emphatically endorses the fast at the U.S. Department of Justice in D.C. undertaken by the Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice in support of freedom for the Scott Sisters of Mississippi, Jamie and Gladys Scott. We support the immediate inspection of the prison where Jamie is being held despite suffering from end-stage renal disease and call for her immediate hospitalization. This outrageous case of injustice—double-life sentences for these sisters over a theft of less than $11—is a racist and class-based extreme injustice of the worst sort. The Scott Sisters must be released at once! Solidarity joins this growing movement for justice for the Gladys and Jamie Scott and for all women suffering behind bars in inhuman conditions.
———–

Mrs. Rasco, mother of the Scott Sisters, loved Bro. Toure Muhammad’s wonderful Final Call article (http://www.finalcall.com) on their case and was very thrilled to see it! She apologizes for any misstatements she has made and wishes to clarify that the jury racial make-up was 7 whites, 5 Blacks, 1 black and 1 white alternate, (altho the Black alternate did not return). She’s very grateful for the support!
==============

SUPPORT NEEDED!!

— Anyone coming to the event from VA have room to bring anyone else? Please respond ASAP if you are able to share your ride up, thank you!!!

THE SITUATION WITH GETTING THE BUS UP TO THE DEMONSTRATION FROM MISSISSIPPI IS GETTING VERY DIRE, HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED OR ELSE THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO COME. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND STRONGLY ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED, IT IS VERY MUCH NEEDED TO BRING MRS. RASCO, FAMILY AND MS SUPPORTERS TO DC, THEY NEED TO BE THERE TO SPEAK OUT TO THE NATIONAL PRESS!
Please mail an M.O. for whatever you can spare (no amount is too small!) ASAP made out to Donnie Finley and mail to: Donnie Finley c/o Gloria’s Kitchen, 2855 Bailey Ave., Jackson, MS 39206. If you need more info please phone Donnie at: 601-454-6507 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              601-454-6507      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Thank you in advance for your kind support!

MORE UPDATES TO COME VERY SOON! PLEASE GET YOUR PLANS NAILED DOWN, NOT EVERYONE WILL BE WEARING WHITE OR FASTING, SO PLEASE DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU!!

All info is at http://www.grayhairedwitnesses.blogspot.com.

Press Releases: http://www.scribd.com/doc/31674423/grayhairpr and http://www.scribd.com/doc/32890430/ALEXGREGPR

Flyer: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32978058/ghflyer613

PSA: http://www.divshare.com/download/11504574-e65

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YULqQ9qPxio&feature=player_embedded

Facebook: GRAY-HAIRED WITNESSES FOR JUSTICEPhone: 1- 866-968-1188, Ext. 2
E-Mail: ghwitnesses@gmail.com

Scott Watch: A Dirty Injustice in today’s South?

FinalCall.com News

A Dirty Injustice in today’s South?

By Toure Muhammad -Contributing Writer


Updated Jun 11, 2010 – 12:19:24 PM


http://www.finalcall.com


‘Gray-haired’ activists plan D.C. protest to demand justice for jailed Miss. sisters

(FinalCall.com) – The dirtiest thing about the South is not the “Dirty South” music genre, but institutional racism that shatters dreams and destroys families. For the Scott Sisters, who supporters say were unfairly sentenced to life in prison 16 years ago, it has meant watching their children grow into adults and mourning the loss of their father.

Since October 1994, Gladys and Jamie Scott have been serving two life terms each in prison, convicted of an $11 robbery. The Scott Sisters had never been in trouble with the law, but on December 24, 1993, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi arrested the Black women for an armed robbery where no one was murdered, injured or even taken to the hospital.

Gladys and Jamie, then 19-years- and 22-years-old have always maintained their innocence. This case represents a complete miscarriage of justice, say friends, family members and a growing number of supporters.

Three teenagers, all related and aged between 14 and 18, confessed to the robbery. In the initial complaint filed shortly after the robbery, the victims did not mention the Scott Sisters’ alleged involvement in the crime. But the three teens agreed to a plea bargain that included implicating the two girls. The boys received 10 months in jail while the Scott Sisters, who were never offered a plea bargain, were sentenced to two life terms each.

“Even one of the alleged victims testified in court that Jamie and Gladys never robbed them, never took anything from them and that the three boys did, but that he believed that Jamie and Gladys told them to do it,” said Evelyn Rasco, the Scott Sisters’ mother during an exclusive interview with The Final Call. There was never any physical evidence entered into the trial and it was an all-White jury, she noted.

“No justice was given to them at all. It was a circus court. This is wrong. They have nine children and four grandchildren; oldest grandchild is seven-years-old,” said the mother.

Testimony from the Black youth reveals that coercions, threats and promises led to naming the Scott Sisters as the robbers. The 14-year-old testified that he signed a written statement without an attorney present. The teen was told that he would be sent up to Parchman Farm—the notorious Mississippi penitentiary—if he did not cooperate. In addition, he was told that he would be “made out of a woman” (raped by men) at Parchman. In 1998 one of the sentenced teens signed an affidavit maintaining the sisters were not involved with the crime.

The injustice stems from not only racism, but a vendetta against the family because of Scott Sisters’ outspoken late father and another family member, explained Mrs. Rasco. The nephew of James “Hawk” Rasco, the father of the Scott Sisters, implicated a White sheriff who was extorting Black night club owners which resulted in the sheriff serving time in prison, she said. The night club owners had been paying approximately $100 per week to sell alcohol in Scott County, which was a dry county. Mr. Rasco who had recently moved to Mississippi from Chicago bought the night club from the nephew.

According to the mother, a Black deputy felt her husband should continue paying bribe monies that the nephew paid. Supporters say when Mr. Rasco refused the deputy responded, “I will get you, even if it is through your daughters.” Mr. Rasco died in February 2003 from a heart attack.

Mrs. Rasco has never given up hope. She has written letters, made phone calls and told everyone who would listen about her daughters’ plight. She caught the attention of Nancy Lockhart, a legal representative and community organizer who was working at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Ms. Lockhart began assisting the Scott Sisters after receiving a letter about the case from Mrs. Rasco in December of 2006. “When I read that letter, I could detect that she wasn’t lying. I knew the letter was from the heart,” said Ms. Lockhart. “Then I read the transcripts. The case reeked of innocence.”

The Scott Sisters have exhausted all their legal remedies. Every attempt by the Scott Sisters to challenge their convictions has been denied. Jamie Scott is currently represented by Attorney Chokwe Lumumba for her medical issues only. Both Jamie and Gladys are in need of criminal lawyers to review their cases and determine a course of action, according to their mother.

The fight to free the sisters is now heightened by Jamie’s worsening health condition. “Jamie is deteriorating every day,” said Mrs. Rasco.

In January, 2010, Jamie Scott suffered failure of both kidneys. “The medical diary of Jamie Scott is very extensive and depicts inhumane treatment, torture and the lack of appropriate medical care,” said Ms. Lockhart. From March 15, 2010, to approximately March 25, 2010, Jamie was hospitalized where attempts were made to eradicate severe infection and surgically implant a fistula into her arm for dialysis. She has no usage of that arm to date and continues to battle infections. One of the doctors stated that infection had spread throughout her body, say supporters. Her sister Gladys wants to donate a kidney to her sister.

The Scott Sisters’ cry for justice has been heard by the Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice, a group of “elder” activists who plan to fast and travel to the White House on June 21 to urge the federal government to “exercise an authentic system of justice for Gladys and Jamie Scott and all other women who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced,” said spokeswoman B.J. Janice Peak-Graham.

The Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice have demanded freedom for the Scott Sisters and they want an inspection and observation team to enter the Pearl, Miss., prison where Jamie Scott is being held.

During the day-long upcoming demonstration, supporters will make a formal appeal to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama.

Mrs. Rasco is unable to afford the trip to D.C. and is hoping supporters will be able to help pay for a bus. “The children really want to come in support of their mothers,” she said. “(This injustice) has destroyed my life. I am going to keep fighting until they are free or until I die; whichever one comes first.”

(To get involved in the June 21 fast and protest visit http://www.freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/ or contact The Committee to Free the Scott Sisters, 641-715-3900, ext. 99222.

CORRECTION to above article: The jury had 7 whites and 5 blacks.

Scott Watch: Michelle Alexander and the Gray-Haired Witnesses

THE NEW JIM CROW’ AUTHOR MICHELLE ALEXANDER ENDORSES GRAY-HAIRED WITNESSES FOR JUSTICE


P r e s s R e l e a s e
Contacts:
B.J. Janice Peak-Graham / Marpessa Kupendua


1- 866-968-1188, Ext. 2


ghwitnesses@gmail.com


http://www.grayhairedwitnesses.blogspot.com/

WASHINGTON, June 9/Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice News – Author and legal scholar, Michelle Alexander, has taken time from her current national book tour to strongly endorse the June 21, 2010 Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice in DC and their mission in a statement to their web editor and founding member, Marpessa Kupendua. In her new book this brave and insightful legal scholar and civil rights advocate argues that although Jim Crow laws have been eliminated, the racial caste system it set up was not eradicated. It’s simply been redesigned, and now racial control functions through the criminal justice system. In her support of the Gray-haired Witnesses for Justice movement, Ms. Alexander wrote:

“With extraordinary vision and courage, and in the tradition of Ida B. Wells and countless other women who have stood for justice in the face of severe racial oppression, the Gray Haired Witnesses for Justice are calling attention to the harm caused by America’s latest caste system: mass incarceration. Women of color are the fastest growing group of the prison population today and the Gray Haired Witnesses for Justice are shining a bright light on the racial bias and cruelty of our criminal justice system. All Americans who care about justice should join them in their campaign to free the Scott sisters, who have been sentenced to die in prison for an extremely minor, non-violent offense. “

In a February, 2010 article which appeared in the Huffington Post, she wrote, “ The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame.”

In referencing the focus of the Gray-Haired Witnesses on the case of the Scott Sisters, she had this to say, “The double life sentences imposed on the Scott sisters for an alleged robbery in Mississippi netting little more than $11 is a glaring example of a criminal justice system that is no longer much concerned with justice. No one was hurt or injured, and these women have no prior offenses. No other Western democracy subjects its own people to such draconian punishment for minor crimes. And no other country in the world incarcerates such a large percentage of its racial and ethnic minorities. This is Jim Crow justice, alive and well today. I urge all those of conscience to support the Scott sisters and the thousands of other prisoners who find themselves in similar shoes. Sadly, the Scott sisters are not alone. The Gray Haired Witnesses for Justice are standing up for all those suffering needlessly behind bars and we must join them. If we fail to act, history will judge us harshly.”

Michelle Alexander is the author of “The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”. Her book is taking the nation by storm, especially by major news analysts and commentators in examining issues of race bearing upon the era of the Obama administration. Ms. Alexander is a rising legal star who presents a bold and innovative argument that mass incarceration amounts to a devastating system of racial control.

On June 21, 2010, the Gray-Haired Witnesses will commence a Fast at the Department of Justice in a 10:00 a.m. formal appeal to Eric Holder, rejoin at the White House at Noon with a press conference and formal appeal to President Obama, and then continue at Lafayette Square Park from 1PM until 9PM for the duration of the fast with speakers, live performances and artists. They are calling on all people of good will to join them on that day and demand justice for the Scott Sisters and an end to the oversentencing, degradation and dehumanization of Black women in this system and nation as a whole.

Michelle Alexander is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010). The former director of the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU in Northern California, she also served as a law clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently, she holds a joint appointment with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

Gray-Haired Witnesses Hunger Strike – June 21, 2010 Washington, DC for the Scott Sisters

WE ARE THE GRAY-HAIRED WITNESSES
We Stand in wisdom and with courage as the moral consciousness of a Nation

The Call
In 1896, Ida B. Wells, the African American crusader for justice and defender of democracy, said these words, “One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.” Her proclamation was a rallying cry for the nation to stand up against lynching and the right of Black men and women to live and move freely with white vigilante groups desecrating and torturing our bodies. When Ida B. Wells stood up, she set in motion a resistance movement where many Americans broke their silence against lynching and said NO. She stood for a race of people bereft of political power or resources. More than 100 years later Gray-Haired Witnesses, Black women with a new Freedom Movement calling on this nation, stand in the spirit of those proud men and women who won hard-fought for victories in struggle and blood. Thousands of ordinary Black people joined with thousands of people of all races to stand with courage to fight for the rights and liberties that are inherent in the Constitution. On the other hand, other people worked relentlessly to move the nation backwards by building an America where only one race and their freedom and bodies mattered. Truth be told, people of color have always lived under the weight of a lockdown society that use laws, torture, and incarceration to attempt to hold us in our places. Like Ida Wells Barnett, we did not back down despite economic, political and social reprisals.

We stand on this history today. We stand before you as Gray-Haired Witnesses asking freedom-loving people of all colors who believe in the dream of Ida B. Wells, of a just, safe and open America for all peoples regardless of our different social locations to break the veil of silence and stand strong in a renewed spirit of moral consciousness for this country. The greatest asset we have is our body, mind and spirit and our willingness to step out of the daily flow of life and stand tall for what is right and just. The jagged tears in the social and cultural infrastructure of Black and poor communities and families are unconscionable and unacceptable to us. We come ready to repair them. In the tradition of race women throughout history and our survival, we declare our presence and we will not be silent and we are not afraid.

Who We Are
We come from a long line of women who refused to bend under the lash of chattel slavery from the time we were first dragged upon these shores until the 21st century slavery of today’s prison industrial complex! We witnessed a people living under severe oppression, and with limited resources create the capacity to win without ever discharging the first shot. We were present and part of the crossover from Jim Crow laws into a better place and with some protection. Out of that experience, and of that wisdom, we cannot remain silent and insist on pressing forward for ourselves and our people. Our history and the whispers of ancestral pleadings will not allow us to not meet our obligations to raise up our voices calling for justice and restoration of our people. We are the elder women, the daughters of the American slave system, Jim Crow oppression and the American Freedom Movement. We are gray-haired witnesses who have struggled from time immemorial within the Black community. We who are three strikes removed from the center of the power structure of this country. Our lives have prepared us to come to this place, at this time.

The Mission
Over the last 20 years, the women’s population in US prisons has more than tripled. They are our Sisters. Too many are victimized by biased and negligent lawyers and judges. The evidence of oppression against Black and poor women significantly increased and continues to mount. Our Sisters are victimized, and subsequently our families, by enormous health care disparities, and emotional degradation through corporate media demonization of our image and place in our community.

We speak to the totality of the struggle of the Black woman who is debased regularly as uneducated, immoral, subhuman, whore, bad mother, and welfare queen. Since 80% of women in prison are Black women, all forms of media promote the idea that Black women are worse than other women. Most women are in prison as a result of drug selling, addiction, domestic violence and criminal acts mostly related to men. We also recognize the systemic racism that leads the police to even arrest the Black woman in the first place, the racism during sentencing, during incarceration, in dealing with social services, education, health discrimination, and beyond.

We want to raise the political consciousness of the nation while standing as the moral soul of the nation. We assume this posture because we are ‘bridgers’ and remnants. Many of us lived through segregation and worked to dismantle it through various movements for human dignity, equal rights and justice. We now see a coalition of corporate, cultural and political wars fully embracing a White supremacist culture of domination and terrorism. They use their power and resources to lock down-out and up people of color, especially Black people. They seek to weaken our defenses and power to resist by attacking the strongholds that carried us through enslavement, segregation, and Northern oppression. As part of this campaign they slander and dehumanize the entire Black community in the media and other public spaces.

This is perfectly illustrated by the case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys, whose almost 16 yrs of unjust incarceration is a shocking revelation of the pure nothingness with which our lives are deemed in the eyes of this society and world, where such egregious travesties of justice are heaped upon our women with hate-filled arrogance and in plain view!

In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced Jamie and Gladys Scott to consecutive double-life terms each for two counts of armed robbery they did not commit. They did not have prior criminal records, vigorously maintained their innocence, approximately $11 was said to have been netted, no one was harmed or injured and no weapon was ever recovered. Witnesses testified that they were coerced and threatened to lie on the Scott Sisters and their unbelievable convictions rest entirely on a combination of contradictory, coerced, and potentially perjured testimony by the victims and two other people charged with the crime who were offered lighter sentences for their cooperation. Even if the Scott Sisters were guilty of this crime, the sentence is absolutely unheard of and draconian, at best, and is cruel and unusual punishment without a doubt!

We call on our Sisters, our Brothers to join with us to demand what is right, to require that our government and people of goodwill climb aboard our open train to democracy. We must speak loudly and clearly to the devaluation of Black women’s bodies and lives. We want people of all colors to wage a struggle and stand with us on these issues because none of us are free until we are all free. .

The Declaration
We declare that we will act, do what we must, what is required to protect our community, our families and our children from systemic harm which results in their destruction. We will not be pressed down. We will witness from our rich history, in wisdom and with courage.

Immediate and Urgent Plan of Action
Sadly, there is truly a sense of urgency as in January, 2010, both of Jamie Scott’s kidneys shut down and during her nightmarish roller-coaster ride of attempting to get competent and effective medical care has suffered so much maltreatment that she has quickly declined to stage 5 (end stage) kidney disease. Jamie Scott has now effectively been sentenced to death.

We must address this specific issue with urgency. It is now a matter of life or death for Jamie Scott. We cannot allow her to further endure inadequate and incompetent medical care which assures her death.

· GRAY-HAIRED WITNESSES HUNGER STRIKE – JUNE 21, 2010 Washington, DC

WE WILL BE HUNGER STRIKING AT THE DEPT. OF JUSTICE IN WASHINGTON, DC DURING JUNETEENTH TO DEMAND FREEDOM FOR JAMIE AND GLADYS SCOTT!

We are demanding an Inspection and Observation Team be allowed into the Pearl, MS prison where Jamie Scott is being held.
More information to come.

Please contact us at: spirithousedc@gmail.com

Please visit: http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/search/label/Case%20Summary for complete information on the horrific case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters and Jamie Scott’s fight for life.