Free the Scott Sisters: Grace calling Mississippi.


Hey Friends of Justice out there:
Don’t let Governor Barbour leave Jamie and Gladys to die in prison.




This week is a pretty critical time for folks to be contacting the Governor of Mississippi to implore him to pardon Jamie and Gladys Scott. One of the more recent news editorials detailing their struggle is already posted below. You can also hit their mom’s blogspot for more info (Evelyn Rasco – such a beautiful soul – is their mom; Nancy Lockhart and Sis Marpessa are their champions). Be prepared for some awesome gospel, blues, and soul to stream through when you open it (that means crank up your speakers, not turn them down)!


The conditions of the prison they’re in – particularly the trailer where Jamie receives dialysis treatments (when the machine is working, that is) are horrendous – but you needn’t make reference to that in your communication with Governor Barbour’s office about the pardon – there’s an appropriate contact for that below.


If you’re a registered Republican – even from outside of Mississippi – please share that with Governor Barbour in your letter, as the man will likely be running for national office in 2012. It would help for him to know that real Republicans are interested in seeing that Americans are capable of delivering both justice and mercy when we’ve been wrong…


Here’s the info to reach Governor Haley Barbour (visit that link, first, to get to know a little about him):

Honorable Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205


1-877-405-0733
governor@governor.state.ms.us


You may also want to put something on letterhead and e-mail it as an attachment to the governor’s personal assistant – Dorothy Kuykendal:

DKuykendall@governor.state.ms.us

Jamie Scott (center) with Mom and brother.



Also, check out this recent post and please contact the Mississippi health department regarding the black mold, toilets in Quick Bed and inadequate infrastructure in this dialysis trailer which are all located at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Mississippi. There are a lot of lives at stake – the survival rates for sick Mississippi prisoners have plummeted in recent years under the current health care provider, Wexford – Mother Jones did an excellent piece on this in March.

Jeffrey K. Brown, Ph.D., R.P.E., B.C.E.
Bureau Director
State Public Health Entomologist
Mississippi State Department of Health
570 East Woodrow Wilson Avenue
Jackson, Mississippi 39216


601.576.7972 Office
601.576.7632 Fax
769.257.2242 Cell


jeffrey.brown@msdh.state.ms.us
www.healthyms.com

Please Help Pardon the Scott Sisters.

This in from Free The Scott Sisters Wednesday. Thursday was the 16 year anniversary of their incarceration. Please write letters on their behalf ASAP – they do make a difference.

——————————-

Mrs. Rasco would like to inform everyone that Jamie was taken to the doctor yesterday and given medication thanks to all phone calls and e-mails. The doctor seemed to think that she has a sinus infection. The doctor was not able to check her ears as all machines for making ear examinations are broken.

THANK YOU ALL!

Please continue to send e-mails and faxes to the board of Pardon’s and Parole and express your support for their release. You may include points such as their accomplishments in prison.
Jamie and Gladys both have completed training courses. Gladys is a great seamstress and completed this program in prison. Jamie has completed several courses as well. Both Jamie and Gladys have assisted numerous inmates in learning to read.

Your letters will mean a lot to the board in making their decision for a pardon with an EXPUNGED record.

Fax: (601) 576-3528 — Ms. Warnock –swarnock@mdoc.state.ms.us

Board Members – Fax: (601) 576-3528
Bobbie Thomas – Board Member
Clarence Brown – Board Member
Betty Lou Jones – Board Member
Danny Guice – Board Member

State of Mississippi Parole Board
660 North Street
Suite 100A
Jackson, MS 39202

In Solidarity,

Nancy Lockhart, M.J.

Scott Watch: Mother and Child Reunions


An update from Sis Marpessa on the Scott Sisters. There’s something about love across generations that makes Hell hurt a little less. Blessings to Mrs. Rasco from Arizona – it’s going a little nuts in the streets here, but we’re still with you all. For everyone else, let’s get on all this before Monday – there are three concrete things listed that we can do right now to help.

Actually, skip the part below and head on over to the Free The Scott Sisters’ blog instead – there’s an awesome, soulful tune that comes up with the current page (hit the player to the left if it doesn’t start automatically). Listen to it as you read this update there, buy a t-shirt if you can, and put your brain to work again on how we’re going to get the State of Mississippi to free these women (and keep Jamie alive in the process).

Finally, if anyone out there is in or near Chicago in a couple of weeks we could use a hand – and a few good signs. I’m Peggy, and I’m posting this shout out all over the country – please contact us if you might be in a position to do an action there. My email is prisonabolitionist@gmail.com.

Enjoy the reunion…

—————————-

Greetings all,

Mrs. Rasco just returned from visiting with Jamie and Gladys and wanted everyone to have an update right away. Jamie no longer has evidence of infection and the boils that were on her body have cleared up. She is, however, still very weak and exhausted from her dialysis and at times during the visit was speaking while her eyes were closed. She told her mother that she wants and needs a kidney transplant.

Thanks to you supporters, Mrs. Rasco was able to get in to visit Gladys!

Mrs. Rasco said that Gladys was so happy to see her that she picked her up off of the ground and kissed her, to the delight of everyone in the visiting room! It was truly a beautiful moment. Gladys’ daughter, Courtney, was at first denied due to a claim that she was not on the visiting list. Thanks to the efforts of Sondra Humphrey, Director of MS CURE, Courtney was able to finally visit her mother the following day for one hour. Mrs. Rasco is very, very grateful for her
intervention.

The Scott Sisters are still in need of pro bono legal representation and we are asking for an individual, group or class to please help develop ideas for these women’s legal defense. This is incredibly their 16th year on this outrageous charge, the injury just grows each and every day that their lives are hijacked in that place and their children and grandchildren suffer without them.

1. Please purchase t-shirts to help with fund raising efforts!! We need folks to wear them to help raise awareness as we need everyone to begin talking about this case so that no one can say that they have not heard about it.

Visit http://www.radicaljack.com/scsit.html and get yours today!

2. Additionally, both women said that they have practically exhausted their commissary funds and anyone who wishes to donate to the women directly may send donations via http://www.inmatedeposits.com/ , register for Access Corrections and use each of their name and number to make your donation.

Jamie is #19197 and Gladys is #19142.

3. Ask Color of Change to feature the Scott Sisters at http://www.colorofchange.org/, and also copy and paste in an e-mail to: info@colorofchange.org.

Thank you! More updates will come soon!

==============

Please continue to advocate on behalf of Jamie and Gladys Scott, their children and families need for them to return home alive, the time is NOW!

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
HOTLINE: 202-353-1555
PHONE: 202-514-2000
202-307-6777 fax
AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Christopher Epps
601-359-5600
CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

911 Mississippi State Prisons

I found this article fascinating, albeit troubling as well. You really can’t take the American Correctional Association seriously as an accrediting agency now, seeing him at the helm after getting a great score. They don’t calculate prisoner mortality rates into their evaluations and equations, I guess. How can they have any accreditation at all? Don’t any of those ACA people have a clue about what was happening in Parchman? It ‘s as bad as what’s been going on in the prison Jamie and Gladys Scott have been buried in. Who do they think is responsible for all this if not him? Is the MDOC now the national gold standard for the ACA? That’s pathetic.

I wonder how many of those ACA people even care that this man was fired early in his career, back when he was a corrections officer, for violating the civil rights of an escapee as part of a group of MDOC staff who beat the guy senseless after apprehending him. That’s all according to court records easily enough located on the internet.

They got their jobs back after a fight (no big surprise) – and as we all know he went on to preside over one of the most brutal, negligent departments of corrections in the country. Under his watch, mortality rates among prisoners have skyrocketed to where Mississippi’s is the second highest in the nation. That has also occurred since Wexford took over the health care. I suspect it has something to do with whether or not they’re properly treating – or even bothering to prevent or screen for – illnesses like Hep C, Diabetes, and heart disease and their secondary complications.

I hope a team of investigative journalists or some top notch college students out there in Mississippi pick up on this and run with it – look at all those deaths and try to find out what caused them. Were they from chronic or acute illnesses? Were people getting adequate care or were their pleas for medical attention going unanswered? What’s the mortality rate in the prisons among dialysis patients? Is there a high incidence of Hep C infection among them (much non-IV drug transmission occurs through poorly maintained medical equipment, like dialysis machines. Do you think Wexford would even tell a patient if they ever got infected through dialysis? Do you think the MDOC would?)

What’s the prevalence of diabetes and complicating factors, like kidney disease, among Mississippi prisoners? How about among African American prisoners? I bet you’ll find that a lot of people are dying from illnesses like diabetes related to “lifestyle” (including things the prisons have total control over, like diet) or from secondary complications of disease processes that could have been manged – as in Jamie Scott’s case. I bet it’s pretty high among minority women in prison in particular. I think it’s pretty fair to say that prison life had a lot to do with her developing diabetes and severe kidney disease this early in life.

I have good reason for asking those questions. I was going to embed links that led to some of the answers, but I’ve already covered a lot of that ground – someone else needs to move this from blog to paper. Someone from Mississippi. There’s a whole prison full of women wiling and ready to talk – probably the men are, too. All they need is someone willing to listen and then do something with it.

In the meantime, think on this, America. The man who runs the Mississippi Department of Corrections just became the president of the American Correctional Association, which is supposed to be accrediting all of our jails and prisons. Think any prisoners in Mississippi are going to see justice now? Think any prisoners in ANY state will get what they need in terms of medical care from the directors who now look to him for leadership?

What a reflection of cowardice and self-interest on the part of the membership of the American Correctional Association (dominated and kind of sponsored by the private prison industry, by the way) to put that guy out as their president. Why would they choose him? Certainly not because of his stellar ethical foundation. But I guess every single one of them is knowingly letting people die, too, trying to keep them from making too much noise in the process. That’s what happens here in Arizona. I haven’t heard one prisoner rights activist from any state in the country say that their DoC director is a decent human being who takes full responsibility for the treatment of prisoners in his (her) custody.

I sure hope the Scott Sisters keep making noise, bringing what’s happening there to the world’s attention. We’ll try to keep amplifying your voices – and those of any other prisoners and family members who write to us – as much as possible. We’ve haven’t been posting a lot, but believe me, we’re still out here for you. We haven’t been fooled a bit…

This is from the end of May . The article was in the MS Digital Daily, which I believe is the state of Mississippi’s PR “news” line, not to be confused with a real journalistic venture. If I’m wrong about this being anything other than a press release for the MDOC – or if I’ve erred about facts in my remarks above – then please correct me by leaving a comment at the end of this article, and we’ll look into it. We can execute Troy Davis even if he’s factually innocent, but god forbid we lambaste an abusive man in power.

—————————————-

Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Christopher B. Epps Elected American Correctional Association President
posted by Baxter Cannada | 5/25/2010
By KENT CROCKER

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher B. Epps has been elected as president of the prestigious American Correctional Association. Commissioner Epps will be the 102nd president of the organization. The first ACA president was Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes later became the nineteenth president of the United States.

The American Correctional Association (ACA), originally founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, is an international organization of correctional administrators and professionals in various correctional disciplines. At the 1954 Congress of Correction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the name of the American Prison Association was changed to the American Correctional Association. The organization is composed of more than 20,000 members from 60 countries. Approximately 450 Mississippians are members of the organization.

As ACA president, Commissioner Epps will head a major publishing operation. The ACA magazine Corrections Today is the leading correctional publication. It is accompanied by over 300 other ACA publications, training curricula and videos. The ACA is a primary source of training for correctional professionals. In recognition of the growing correctional health care profession, ACA also publishes Correctional Health Today.

Mississippi is a long term beneficiary of the ACA. Through the American Correctional Association accreditation program, under the leadership of Commissioner Epps, the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has developed and or enhanced institutional programs, agency operating procedures and overall safety. This improvement is partially responsible for a decrease in recidivism from 34 percent 2003 in to the current 30 percent. Through the accreditation process, Mississippi became the 14th state to receive the ACA Eagle Award. The Eagle Award signifies that every aspect of a correctional agency that can be accredited has been accredited. Since Mississippi received the Eagle Award on August 11, 2008, one other state has received the award. Apart from the agency’s accreditation, several MDOC employees have become accredited through the ACA thus enhancing their value to the taxpayers of Mississippi.

Governor Barbour praised the Mississippi Department of Corrections, under the leadership of Commissioner Christopher Epps, for improvements in agency management and fiscal responsibility. Governor Barbour stated “It is a testimony to the leadership of the MDOC that the agency received full accreditation by an international association that Chris Epps later became president of, even while MDOC reduced its operating costs by more than $100 million during a 5-year period.”

(Interjection: I think this is the magic this man works, folks – cutting costs with lives.
It makes his boss real proud, too. -PA)


James Gondles, Executive Director of the American Correctional Association stated “In our rich and varied 140 year history only 102 women and men have been called to serve in the ACA Presidency. These leaders were the trail-blazers in our industry, the people with ideas to shape new plans for rehabilitation, to enhance public safety, and to turn offender lives around. Commissioner Epps has been called to lead and he certainly fits that pattern. We are excited about our future with President Elect Epps at the helm.”

Commissioner Epps states, “The American Correctional Association has provided me with the professional network to understand the approaches that are working in the other states and various member nations. This has been a valuable component in Mississippi’s endeavor to improve quality while reducing expenditures.” He went on to express his heartfelt appreciation for Governor Barbour’s support, the support of James Gondles, and for the membership of the ACA as a whole. He said, “In my 28 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections and my 8 years as Commissioner of Corrections, I have always known my fellow employees as a second family and have never questioned their support. Each and every one of them knows that this wasn’t just an election of Chris Epps: It was recognition of the Mississippi Department of Corrections as the best corrections agency in the U.S. and the best state agency in Mississippi. As proud as my other family is of me, I am doubly proud of them.”

Color of Change: Come to Mississippi.

——————–update from Free the Scott Sisters———————

Please go to the link below and request that Color of Change feature the Scott Sisters.

http://www.colorofchange.org/

Also copy and paste in an e-mail to:

info@colorofchange.org

Thank you!

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.

Gray-Haired Witnesses: June 21 Fast.

MAKE YOUR PLANS TO JOIN US!!
JUNE 21, 2010 — WASHINGTON, DC
10 AM – DEPT. OF JUSTICE
12 NOON – WHITE HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE
1PM-9PM – LAFAYETTE SQUARE PARK

We need EVERYONE to join us in bringing national attention to the case of the Scott Sisters and all those who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced!

This is a day-long fast to be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves, while standing on the shoulders of our righteous ancestors who taught us that we dare not become complacent and accepting of oppression but to struggle against injustice and to bring together the people who will loudly declare that enough is enough!

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, we declare our presence and we will not be silent and we are not afraid.

**********

MEET US AT NEW YORK AVENUE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, RADCLIFFE ROOM, 1313 NEW YORK AVENUE, NW BETWEEN 8:30 AND 9:45 AM (2 blocks from the White House and Lafayette Square Park). The church is also available to us from 11:45a until 1:00.

Directions to Dept. of Justice from the New York Ave. Presbyterian Church: Come out of the building at 1313 New York Avenue, NW and turn left, cross the street at corner of the church,—you will be in front of the Inter American Bank—which is now H St, NW. Stay on H, cross at 13th, and count the numbers down to 9th—turn right on 9th, now count down the letters until you reach Pennsylvania Ave., NW –the address is 950 Pennsylvania. It’s about 10 city blocks.

There is a public parking lot located 4 blocks from the church and 4 blocks from the Department of Justice. It’s the best deal in town—most other parking is in garages that will not fit a bus. This is the contact information: City Center Parking operated by U Street Parking – 900 9th St., NW—the entrance is on 9th St, which is one way. Cars can park all day for $20 and buses can park all day for $35. Come down H St, NW to 10th, turn right on 10th go up 1 block, turn right, and then right again on 9th—the entrance is mid block on the right. Buses park to the far right of the lot. The telephone number is 202 265-0010 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202 265-0010      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202 265-0010      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE – 10 AM – WE WILL BEGIN OUR FAST, PICKET, SPEAK OUT AND PRESENT PETITIONS AND DEMANDS FOR ERIC HOLDER. Gray-Haired Witnesses are calling for white clothing in solidarity, but participants need not join in the fast or wear all-white to support!

12 NOON – WHITE HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE — The Shocking Case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters Must Become a National News Story.

1PM-9PM – LAFAYETTE SQUARE PARK Continuation of Fast with Speakers, Performers, Activists, Music — Come thru and lend your support as we raise awareness of the shocking case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters and uplift and educate attendees around issues of serious concern to our Sistas and our community at large. We need your voice to be a part of this program! Bring non-perishable food donations that will be distributed to the needy of the DC community at the conclusion of the fast.

Participants include:

Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman
Kermit Eady – Former Head, Black United Fund of NY, Eady Associates
Michael Johnson -Black Unity Movement, Black Student Union
Nkechi Taifa, Esq. – President, Legacy Justice Institute
Sam Jordan – Advocate for Justice and Prison Abolition
Senghor Jawara Baye – Pres. Gen., UNIA-ACL
Slangston Hughes
“Spoken Word” – Spoken Word Artist
Strong Love Band
Bro. Yango!
+ More, More, More!

—————-


CALL DONNIE FINLEY OF GLORIA’S KITCHEN, JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI IF YOU CAN HELP WITH DONATING A BUS SO THAT MRS. RASCO AND FAMILY CAN ATTEND THE RALLY. CALL DONNIE ASAP at: 601-454-6507.
———

IN SOLIDARITY:

On behalf of President-General Senghor Jawara Baye and the Government of the UNIA-ACL worldwide, we are here-in providing our full and unconditional support against the wrongful imprisonment of the Scott Sisters under the rampant racism exhibited by the state of Mississippi. Too long have we stood by and allowed our people to lanquish in the prisons of amerikkka. These two strong Black women have been held hostage on trumped-up charges of an $11.00 robbery since 1993…almost 17 years! This is what has transpired with them and many others since our sojourn in this wicked land. How long my people? How long will we continue to stand by while our Bothers and Sisters rot and die in the bowels of amerikkka’s dungeons?

Jamie is dying for lack of inept and inadequate medical care. This blatant racism that exists in amerikkka has not met its death as some would have you believe. Rise up now and show that you will no longer tolerate such. Let the powers that be know that it is way pass time for justice to step forward… instead of it always being just-us. We want Jamie and Gladys Scott released immediately. We want full and complete medical care issued and restitution for all these years of false imprisonment. We also call for a swift hand in all these cases where we have had so many of our people so blatantly and wrongfully imprisoned.

Zama Cook
Minister of Information
Government of the UNIA-ACL
———

DURING THE DAY OF MONDAY JUNE 21:


We need you to support by doing some or all of the following–

1. STAND WITH US IN WASHINGTON AND BRING OTHERS!

2. Call, fax and e-mail Eric Holder and let him know that you are in Solidarity with the Gray-Haired Witnesses and demand an investigation into the case of the Scott Sisters and Jamie Scott’s medical treatment. HOTLINE: 202-353-1555, PHONE: 202-514-2000, 202-307-6777 fax, AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

— Call the Commissioner’s office and demand that Jamie Scott be moved to the Medical Bldg. and leave the hot, moldy and infection-inducing Quick Bed unit, that she be given the nutrition that the doctor has told her she needs to survive, and that he advocate for the pardon of both of the Scott Sisters with the Governor’s office. 601-359-5600, CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us

— Call/fax Gov. Haley Barbour and demand that he release Jamie and Gladys Scott from prison! 1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150, Fax: 601-359-3741

3. Send our press release to your local and national press and tell them that you are fasting in solidarity with the Gray-Haired Witnesses fast for justice and that you want them to write a story about the case of the Scott Sisters (press release is at http://www.scribd.com/doc/31674423/grayhairpr).


4. Repost our information to your Facebook and other social netwoking sites. Help us get the word out.

5. Forward the press release to national and local press outlets! We need your help! (Press release is at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/31674423/grayhairpr)

6. Issue a statement of support on an individual or organizational level on this endeavor and get it to us before June 20 and it will be read at the event. Write a blog, article or commentary, post it and pass it on for posting on our website.

7. Volunteer to help us on that day, we need you!

8. Change your Facebook or other networking site profile pic in solidarity for the day and represent one of the Scott Sisters or their mother! i don’t want to include attachments on this e-mail in case everyone can’t receive them, so please just e-mail me back for them or go to the Facebook group GRAY-HAIRED WITNESSES FOR JUSTICE and both of the photos will be there for you to use. Thank you so much!!
———–

ENDORSEMENT LIST– THANK YOU ALL FOR STANDING WITH US!!

Action Committee for Women in Prison
Agnes Johnson, The 1212 Community in the Bronx
Ahmad Abdulibad, Minister~General, Sons Of Afrika
Bonnie Kerness, AFSC*
Brenda Scott Lowery
Bro. Moorbey, Chairman, Black Unity Movement
Bro. Sauti & Sis. Shiriki, KCBLR.ORG Radio
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Charles E. Campbell, Allen Hydro Energy Corporation (AHEC)
Christian Guerrier, Founder, Millennials Project
Cleo Silvers
David Blanchard
Dick Gregory – Human Rights Activist
Dominique Reed, HRC-Fed Up!
Donna Wallach, Justice for Palestinians
Dr. Judson L. Jeffries, Professor & Director, The Ohio State University
Earl Smith, Executive Director, Order of Kush International
Eddie Griffin (BASG)
Fayemi Shakur, Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign
Florence L. Tate
Free Mumia NYC
Harambee Radio and Television Network
Helen Raines Staley, Albany NY
Int’l Concerned Family/Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Jacqui C. Williams
Julie Ann Turner
Kenneth King
Kermit Eady, Eady Associates
Leonna A. Brandao, S.W.III, New Vision Org., Inc.
Malaika H. Kambon, People’s Eye Photography
Marilyn McMahon, California Prison Focus
Marritte Funches, founder of the August Initiative
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Newspaper
mesha Monge-Irizarry, Director, Education Not Incarceration, SF Chapter,
Idriss Stelley Foundation, + SF MOOC City Commissioner*
Michael Johnson/Black Student Union (Comm. College of Balt. County/Essex)
Michelle Alexander, Author, “The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”
Mississippi Prison Watch
Monica Moorehead, Women’s Fightback Network, NYC
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Political Prisoner
Nancy Lockhart, M.J., Legal Analyst
Nathan Hare, Black Think Tank
Nkechi Taifa, Esq. – President, Legacy Justice Institute
Pastors Against Injustice, Wayne Jones
Paul Lefrak.
People’s Organization for Progress
Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, T.O.P.S.
Rev. Majadi Baruti, Udja Temple Ministries
Ron Scott, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality
Sam Jordan – Advocate for Justice and Prison Abolition
Senghor Jawara Baye, President General UNIA-ACL
Sistah Q, Author of Maintaining Our Temples
Solidarity
Sundiata Acoli, Political Prisoner
Tara Graham
Terry Howcott
The African American Freedom & Reconstruction League
The MOVE Organization
Trinita Simpson
4JusticeNow
(* For ID purposes only)


Blessed are those who struggle
Oppression is worse than the grave
Better to die for a noble cause
than to live and die a slave

Up through the years we’ve continued this fight
our liberty to attain
And though we have faced insurmountable odds
yet the will to resist remains

(From: Blessed are Those Who Struggle – The Last Poets)

The Scott Sister’s shocking double-life sentence must not become death sentences on our watch!

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.

Scott Watch: Unconstitutional Living Conditions

Unconstitutional Living Condition ~ Unedited ~By Jamie Scott ~ Please Forward to Media Outlets

 
April 20, 2010
Jamie Scott # 19197
CMCF/2A-B-Zone
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8850

The living condition in quickbed area is not fit for any human to live in. I have been incarcerated for 15 years 6 months now and this is the worst I have ever experience. When it rain out side it rain inside. The zone flood like a river. The rain comes down on our heads and we have to try to get sheets and blankets to try to stop it from wetting our beds and personnel property. Because the floors are concrete and it have paint on it, it makes it very slippery when it rain and there have been numerous of inmates that have broke their arms and hurt there self do to this. Above our heads there are rows and rows of spiders as if we live in the jungle. There are inmates that have holds in there bodies left from spider bites, because once they are bitten it take forever to get to the clinic for any help. There are mold in the bathroom ceiling and around the walls and toilets. The toilets leak sewage from under them and they have the inmate men to come in and patch them up occasionally. The smell is awful. The showers are two circular poles with five shower heads on each pole. The floor in the shower is also concrete and slippery. There is nothing to hold on to when you exit the shower so there have been many inmates that have hurt there self in the process. Outside the building there is debirs where the unit is falling apart. Each day we are force to live in these conditions. The staph infection is so high and we are force to wave in toilet and sewage water when we have to go to the bathroom. I have witness to many inmates die at the hands of this second rate medical care. I do not want to be one of them. When this is brought to the health department or anyone attention. The MDOC tries to get the inmate to try to pamper it up so if someone comes in it want look as bad as the inmates said it did. I am fully aware that we are in prison, but no one should have to live in such harsh condition. I am paranoid of catching anything because of what I have been going throw with my medical condition. We are living in these harsh conditions, but if you go to the administration offices, they are nice and clean and smell nice because they make sure the inmates clean their offices each day. They tell us to clean the walls. Cleaning the walls will not help anything. Cleaning the walls will not stop the rain from pouring in. it will not stop the mold from growing inside the walls and around us. It will not stop the spiders from mating. They have 116 inmates on each wing, and we live not five feet from each other in order to pack us in. We have the blowers on the ceiling and if the inmates are acting crazy or the staff come in mad they use the blowers as a form of punishment. The taxes payers really are lead to believe we are been rehabilitated. That is a joke. All we do is sit in this infected unit and build up more hate. Rehabilitated starts within you. If you want to change you will change. One thing about MDOC, they know how to fix the paper work up to make it seen as if they are doing their job. You can get more drugs and anything else right here. I have witness a lot in my time here. Do I sound angry, I am not I am hurt and sick. Because they have allowed my kidney to progress to stage five which been the highest. They told me years ago I had protein in my urine, but I went years without any help. Now, it seen the eyes are on me because my family are on their case. Every inmate is not without family. Yes, you do have many inmates that family have giving up on, but my sister and I are not them. I do not want special attention; I want to treat, and to live how the state says on paper we are living. The same way when it is time for the big inspection we are promised certain food if we please clean up to pass this inspection. So I beg of anyone to please understand Mississippi Department of Correction is a joke. They will let you die or even kill yourself. We are told when visitors come into the prison do not talk to them. Well I have the right to talk to anyone and if the health department or anyone comes I will talk to him or her, because this is my life and I should or anyone else should be force to live like this. They use unlawful punishments to try to shut us up. I need help. I need a inmate to help me, but for some reason they will not allow me to move with my sister, so she can help me. There are mother and daughter, aunties, and nieces housed together and also there are a total of 12 inmates acting as orally for others inmates. I have all the names of the inmates acting as a orally if need to be giving. However, the subject of my sister is been danced around. A form of discrimination. My sister (Gladys Scott) and I were housed together for over ten years and not once have we ever caused any problem. We were spit up because in 2003 the Commissioner came with the order to separate all family members. Because its payback because my family is holding them accountable to do what they are paid to do. Also, do to the fact Mr. Daniels on it’s a New Day & Grassroots are keeping the supports inform that is been pointed out to me in a negative way. Now that I am sitting everyday because of my sickness I have time to use my typewriter. MDOC have gotten away with to much. In addition, some of the things that go on here I truly believe that Mr. Epps do not know.