BLACK WOMEN’s Defense League: Press Conference Today.

TODAY: NOON

PRESS CONFERENCE: Official “Kick Off” for

“The DIRECT ACTION National Campaign To
FREE THE SCOTT SISTERS NOW !!!!”

FRIDAY MARCH 26, 2010 12 noon

IN FRONT OF THE CAPITOL BUILDING
400 High St. JACKSON, MS

For more information e-mail: nationalmwm@aol.com
Call The Black Women’s Defense League @267-636-3802

Official and National Million Woman March & Universal Movements
Black Women’s Defense League Unit
P.O. Box 53668
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Day of Blogging for JAMIE – Make it every day!

I’m late again digging through my email box, folks, but still blogging on the Scott sisters every chance anyway. Thank God for the women keeping up this site when I’m not looking so we don’t get too far off track. Please help us engage other mainstream allies in Mississippi to address health care disparities and get some urgent assistance to both Jamie and her family so they can understand exactly what’s going on with her illness and care.

I hoped the Mississippi Kidney Foundation would play a role in facilitating some patient education, but I don’t think they’re helping us any. Maybe folks know of other organizations we should try. Write them as a concerned citizen; go ahead and use my appeal to the Kidney Foundation as a model if you want – and please send a copy of it to the Scott Sisters and Mississippi Prison Watch so we can post it publicly; it’s more likely to be read that way.

Peg (AZ Prison Watch)

—————–The following was sent out by Sis Marpessa on Wednesday night—————-


DAY OF BLOGGING FOR THE SCOTT SISTERS (THURSDAY March 18, 2010) ~ By Sis. Marpessa

Thanks to Bro. Yobachi of Black Perspective.Net for answering the call put forth by myself and Nancy Lockhart for a Day of Blogging for the Scott Sisters. In early January both of Jamie Scott’s kidneys shut down and she has been swiftly declining due to unprofessional medical care that is inadequate, cut-rate and frighteningly inept.

Since that original call those closely following the case know that Jamie was recently rushed to the hospital due to severe infection and the need for prolonged medical attention.

Bro. Yobachi’s press release was slightly amended to reflect that Jamie continues to require ongoing close monitoring as once returned to the prison it has been proven on many occasions that are well documented at the website that the medical staff there has provided absymal health care that has put Jamie’s life at risk far too many times to be acceptable.

Below is Bro. Yobachi’s press release. The Chairwoman of theCommittee to Free the Scott Sisters is Mrs. Evelyn Rasco at rqueenbee2222@yahoo.com.


Thanks to all who will participate in this and help to raise the call to FREE THE SCOTT SISTERS throughout the blogosphere tomorrow and beyond!
———————-

From: http://www.facebook.com/l/ac49e;www.blackperspective.net/index.php/upcoming-day-of-blogging-for-scott-sisters/

Sis. Marpessa, who works with Mrs. Rasco, the Scott sister’s mother; has asked Afrosphere bloggers to conduct a day of blogging to help the wrongly convicted sisters specifically at this time of medical need.

Below is a preliminary press release for the Thursday March 18, Day of Blogging. It should provide the info you need if you’re not familiar with the situation or just need more details. You can also visit Mrs Rasco’s site: http://www.facebook.com/l/ac49e;www.freethescottsisters.blogspot.com.

For Immediate Release
Afrosphere Action Coalition – March 18, 2010
Contact: Marpessa Kupendua The of Committee to Free the Scott Sisters at nattyreb@gmail.com

Wrongly Convicted In Dire Health Situation
DAY OF BLOGGING FOR THE SCOTT SISTERS

Jamie Scott, who was convicted with her sister Gladys Scott and given double-life sentences each for an $11.00 robbery of which there was no credible evidence presented at trial, is suffering from complete kidney failure and other life-threatening medical conditions. The prison is aware of Jamie’s current condition yet Jamie remains in the prison infirmary.*

Mrs. Rasco and Afrosphere Bloggers are calling on the public to request that elected and prison officials in Mississippi immediately move Jamie to qualified medical facilities where she can receive proper medical care forthwith. We also ask that the media do investigative inquiry about this tragic situation and the outrageous case of the wrongfully convicted Scott Sisters!

CONTACT GOV. BARBOUR’S OFFICE
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)

CONTACT CHRISTOPHER EPPS
Christopher Epps, Commissioner of Prisons for the State of Mississippi
601-359-5600
CEPPS@mdoc.http://www.facebook.com/l/ac49e;state.ms.us
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Congressman Bennie Thompson
3607 Medgar Evers Blvd.
Jackson, MS 39213
601-946-9003(ph)
601-982-5337 (fx)
Benniethompson@mail.house.gov

Congressman John Conyers
2426 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
Ph: 202-225-5126
Fax: 202-225-0072

On 12/24/93, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department arrested Jamie and Gladys Scott for armed robbery even though three young males, ranging from ages 14 to 18, confessed to committing the crime and the women have unwaveringly maintained their complete innocence. Despite this, the corrupt Mississippi sheriff used coercion, threats, and harassment to compel the young men to turn state’s evidence against the Scott Sisters due to a long-standing vendetta against a family member. In 10/94 the Scott Sisters were sentenced to extraordinary double-life terms each, despite the facts that no one was harmed, neither sister had prior convictions, no weapon was ever recovered, and the amount alleged to have been taken was approximately $11.00. Even if they were guilty as charged, this sentence is completely outrageous and cruel.

The Scott Sisters are now in their 15th year of incarceration and their five children and grandchildren are being raised by their now ailing mother. The defendants and their family are wholly dependent on support from the press, organizations, and all those dedicated to justice in making this debacle as public as possible.

Their Story has had some success in getting media of late, the most notable being a very brief mention on HLN’s “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell”, a clip of which is available to view here: http://www.facebook.com/l/ac49e;www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO_p3tbjy5E

*Although Jamie was recently hospitalized due to a life-threatening infection, she continues to require ongoing close monitoring as once returned to the prison it has been proven on many occasions that are well documented at the website that the medical staff there has provided abysmal health care that has put Jamie’s life at risk far too many times to be acceptable.

Jamie’s Mom Denied Visitation.

THIS JUST IN:

Dr. Gloria Perry at CMCF where Jamie Scott is an inmate just denied her mother, Mrs. Rasco, her three children and her two grandchildren from coming to visit Jamie this weekend. All six were denied by this doctor even though she knows they’re highly upset at what’s happening to Jamie and are extremely anxious to see her, and now with this surprise are even more worried than before!

Mrs. Rasco asks that everyone contact her office and ask why she is denying Jamie visitation with her family during such a critical time:

GLORIA PERRY, MD, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
(601) 359-5155
gperry@mdoc.state.ms.us

Thank you!

Mississippi Kidney Foundation: Appeal for Imprisoned Patients

This is the slightly edited version of the letter I sent off to the Mississippi Kidney Foundation today, as well as to some media connections and other possible allies. I’ve been ill for awhile and may not be following up for a few days, and worry that everyone will just think someone else is acting on this – in which case no one will – so everyone needs to, and report what you’ve done to the Scott Sisters campaign. Please use this post and email copies of this letter wherever else you can think of that these concerns need to be raised. Just click on the email icon at the bottom. 

—————————————————————
Margaret Jean Plews
Prison Abolitionist
Arizona Prison Watch
1809 East Willetta St.
Phoenix, AZ 85006
480-580-6807
February 7, 2010
Gail G. Sweat, Executive Director
Lynda Richards, Director of Patient Services
Mississippi Kidney Foundation
3000 Old Canton, Suite 110
Jackson, MS 39216
PO Box 55802
Jackson, MS 39296

Dear Gail and Lynda,

I wasn’t sure who best to address this to, but didn’t want it getting lost in the void, so I’m sending it to you both if I can find your emails, and via snail mail. This is a fairly complicated story, so if it’s new to you, hold on. I’m also passing it on to a few other folks, in hopes they might have some ideas or be able to offer support. I really hope that once we figure out exactly what’s going on with care for kidney patients in the Mississippi Department of Corrections (which is contracting medical services to Wexford) Professor Capron in particular will help facilitate some kind of critical analysis and dialogue about the ethical issues involved in treating kidney patients who are prisoners – this is not an issue unique to Mississippi. That’s just where Mrs. Rasco’s daughter happens to be dying right now.

I don’t know if anyone has already contacted you about Jamie Scott or issues with dialysis care for Mississippi state prisoners in general yet. I don’t know my way around your state: your politics, charities, media, etc., and have already stepped on a few toes. I’m a prisoner rights activist in Arizona (from Michigan, actually) with a few websites critiquing the prison industrial complex, and I hear from prisoners and families in trouble all the time, including the Scotts, asking for help by amplifying their voices and reaching out to others. The Scott family has been working on getting these women exonerated for awhile, but now there’s a crisis with one of the sisters going into renal failure. They really need your help. 
I’m concerned that the difficulty the family is having getting a response on Jamie’s care is partly because it’s not clear they or Jamie really know what her diagnosis or prognosis is. I think they’re all so terribly traumatized, and now desperately afraid that they’ll lose Jamie after working so hard for long on her freedom. But they need to be able to articulate what’s going on medically in order to know what kind of treatment to ask for, or who to turn to for help. As is so often the fashion when others control our health care, poor women (especially of color) are the last to know about our medical conditions and treatment options, and we pay the highest price for it. I’m worried that Jamie’s criminalized, marginalized status already places her at considerable risk; not many people value the humanity or gifts of a woman doing double-life in a Mississippi state prison. Add to that her race, poverty, family’s limited resources; some would say she’s lucky to get dialysis at all.
We need to get someone in there who can both educate Jamie and her family about kidney disease, what appropriate care is (which for all I know she’s actually receiving, depending on her diagnosis and prognosis), and how she can assert her rights as a patient while still a prisoner, as well as someone who can help get the resources needed into the MDOC to provide the rest of these women with appropriate medical care. I’m an antagonist, an outside instigator, an organizer – this family needs you, not me, fighting for them on the local level. I’ve probably already pissed a few people off. 
Besides, I’m also fairly ill myself right now, and don’t know that I can see this family through.
This also isn’t about crime and punishment or “prisoner rights” so much as it’s about who we decide is deserving and undeserving of resources we’ve decided to ration in this world – resources that could be made more plentiful – and therefore whom is allowed to suffer, and for whom is such suffering “unconstitutional”. I know that’s pretty loaded, but I don’t know how you can possibly avoid addressing that in your business, anyway. It seems like a conversation that the larger community should be having together, with the Scott Sisters and their mom participating. Especially now, with state services for the poor being hit so hard across the country.
If you can somehow manage to lead the community in an outreach to that prison – refusing to take no for an answer when you knock on the door – and help connect the women in there with the same kind of educational, medical and peer support that free women might be able to access, you could make an impact on women’s health care in jails and prisons that I could never equal in all my years of community activism. It will improve their likelihood of survival while in prison, their success transitioning back to the community once released from prison, and their sense of human connection if it turns out that they are going to be dying in prison. At least then, perhaps, their last days will be witnessed, and even if they have no family left to grieve them, someone can speak to their struggle and courage. That matters a great deal to people; most of us take it for granted, though.
You are in a unique position to command the attention and respect of people who will just otherwise ignore this family and let Jamie suffer and die. I’m not suggesting that you charge in with any accusations – just please find out from the Scotts’ what’s up, try to find out what health care access is really like for women there, and step back and assess the situation with the MDOC and Wexford(chronically ill patients who could be maintained for years are a drag on profits, if allowed to linger.) 
 I suspect diabetes is a major issue for many men and women in prison alike. I have a number of links to research and documents about prisoner health care on my websites (prison Abolitionist and Arizona Prison Watch). Whatever you think you can do yourselves, please see who else there might be natural allies for those women fighting for better health care, and speak publicly to the issue of the treatment of prisoners with kidney disease. I don’t know who else will speak for their health care rights; I’m afraid no one even notices them there. Many more may step up if you do, first, however.
 
You would be able to articulate the consequences of Jamie not receiving proper care, in a way unlike prisoner activists – most of whom don’t know what it feels like to be toxic and dying. You could gauge better than I could whether or not withholding certain medical options might constitute cruel and unusual punishment; you don’t have to be an attorney to question that – the Supreme Court says the definition changes as society morally evolves. I hope we’ve all come at least this far by now. If Jamie will authorize the prison/medical services provider to discuss her diagnosis, prognosis, and course of planned treatment with you with her, then you would know whether or not she’s been offered treatment that’s consistent with community standards of care. Most importantly, perhaps, if Jamie and her family are at least well-informed, then perhaps they do not need to be quite so afraid. There is already so much for them to be afraid of.
At the very least these women should be fully informed about their illness, treatment options, and rights – not reminded of how expendable and of little value their lives are. They matter to the people who love them, and to those whose lives they’ve touched in positive ways. We have much to be thankful for, out here, to the good souls in prison for life who help others make it through intact, and not on a track right back there. It may well be that Jamie’s crisis is the catalyst that gets so much needed focus on the critically and terminally ill in prison; without her voice, countless others may suffer in invisibility. And her example of survival and resistance is an inspiration to other women living and dying there, too.
There’s more history on this at  Mississippi Prison Watch– the latest post announcing my intent to contact you is in email format below. I received the accompanying note from Jamie Scott’s mother, though, and wanted you to see it – to hear the urgency in her voice as she’s trying to save her daughter’s life. I need to make a personal connection with someone there, to know whether or not you’ll step up on this as an advocate for Jamie and the other women there in terms of their right to access health care. The whole issue of whether or not the state would allow a prisoner to donate a kidney to another prisoner troubles me. Especially while both prisoners still have wrongful conviction cases hanging out there – that seems like taking the chance of executing the innocent.
 
Please drop us a line and let us know if you can do anything to help on this matter (Call me if you need to if I don’t respond to email; I may not make it back to my computer in the next few days.). You don’t need to comment on their convictions or sentences – no one should be made to suffer needlessly or subjected to substandard medical care when subject to the total custody and control of the state. That’s not a medical or legal judgment – it’s a moral one. It takes mainstream Americans to say that for anyone to listen, however – not left-wing radicals like me.
Thanks for your time and consideration,
Sincerely,
Peggy Plews
480-580-6807
cc: Professor Alexander Capron, National Kidney Foundation
     American Association of Kidney Patients
     National Kidney Disease Education program
     Mississippi ACLU
     (and several Mississippi and national media outlets)
    
“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Prison Abolitionist
http://prisonabolitionist.blogspot.com

 

Arizona Prison Watch
http://arizonaprisonwatch.blogspot.com

 

Free Marcia Powell
http://freemarciapowell.blogspot.com

 

Mississippi Kidney Foundation: Jamie Needs Help.

I’m not sure where the Mississippi Kidney Foundation is on all of this, but I bet they would be in there advocating for decent care for Jamie if they knew what was going on. I suspect canceling dialysis because the machine at the prison is broken is less than the constitutionally mandated standard of care afforded to even Mississippi’s prisoners. So, I’m sending copies of this post to them, with cc’s to the media. Here’s their address if anyone else is inspired to do the same. Maybe instead of just hammering the Department of Corrections, we could get them and the Mississippi Kidney Foundation to work together to improve this situation.

Mississippi Kidney Foundation
3000 Old Canton, Suite 110
Jackson, MS 39216

PO Box 55802
Jackson, MS 39296

Phone: 601-981-3611
Toll Free: 1-800-232-1592
Fax: 601-981-3612

——- 


this from the Scott Sisters campaign yesterday: 

—————

2/5 JAMIE SCOTT UPDATE!


Greetings all,

Jamie Scott got word out about 3:00 EST that she was told that her dialysis for today was cancelled because the machine at the prison was broken! As if that isn’t bad enough, she reports that her temporary catheter is full of blood and pus and appears to be infected. Of course she and her family are terrified of any complications happening to her as she is still suffering with extreme weakness and other ill effects from her serious medical condition.

Atty. Chokwe Lumumba visited Gladys and Jamie yesterday to collect data on Jamie’s physical treatment at the prison. He is presently exploring options on how to legally proceed with getting Jamie the medical care that she desperately needs.
~~~~~

Jamie also recently wrote a letter to her supporters, excerpts of which follow:

“First let me thank you for the prayers, strength and consideration you have displayed for me and my sister. This ordeal with my kidneys has truly broke me down. I am tired, but I know I cannot give up, because of my family and many supporters.

It was first determined that I had protein in my urine in 1997. Throughout the years it went uncured and untreated and I wasn’t hurting so I thought nothing of it. They would take tests and never receive results. I had a kidney biopsy done around 1997, but once again never received any results. My uterus fell and was removed in 2005. Once again, I never received results of tests on my kidneys.

Now what we must not do is lose our temper and make things worse. Please, you cannot call up here and use abusive language. That will not solve anything. About my dialysis treatments, I go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The set up is inside a trailer.

It is hard and I want my life. The only thing as a whole we can do is try to get the Governor to do something right and release me and Gladys.

I want to thank each one of you for everything you have done.

— Jamie.”
~~~~

Mrs. Rasco did a wonderful Interview with Bro. JR of Block Report Radio/POCC on 1/22 when Jamie was first taken to the hospital, his interview is about 3/4 of the way thru the program at http://aud1.kpfa.org/data/20100128-Thu1700.mp3 . This was before we knew that Jamie had already been returned back to the prison that same day.

Mrs. Rasco is scheduled to be a guest on the Empowerment Hour Radio Show tomorrow 2/6 at 6pm EST, which is accessible at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/eadyassociates and anyone can call (646) 716-7472 to join in the conversation or just listen.

In light of this most recent emergency, we need to start ASAP on trying to get someone to assess and treat Jamie Scott. We need to contact the prison, governor’s office and as much mainstream media as we can! We have to put pressure on Mississippi to get Jamie the medical attention she needs and to get she and Gladys released from their unjust imprisonment! Thank you very much!
~~~~~~~~

BE DIRECT BUT PLEASE BE COURTEOUS

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