Woman who won freedom from life sentence in 2011 dies of COVID-19

Coronavirus

Jamie Scott leads a chant at a prison reform rally outside the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Scott, who won freedom from prison a decade earlier after being convicted with her sister in a 1993 armed robbery in Mississippi, then went on to become an advocate for justice, died Nov. 9, 2021, of COVID-19. She was 49. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A woman who won freedom from prison a decade ago after being convicted with her sister in a 1993 armed robbery in Mississippi, then went on to become an advocate for justice, has died of COVID-19.

Jamie Scott died Nov. 9 after contracting the illness caused by the coronavirus, according to a statement issued Monday by the organization Sisters of Hope, which she founded with sister Gladys Scott. She was 49.

“My sister was a fighter every day of her life, and I will continue her fight not only for her — not just for what she stood for and what she went through — but for what she and I represent, for what others have gone through and are still going through,” Gladys Scott said in a statement. “The fight’s not over until everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and justice.”

Jamie Scott was 21 and Gladys Scott was 19 when they received life sentences for a robbery in central Mississippi. While authorities claimed they helped plan an ambush in which a small amount of money was taken, the women denied wrongdoing and four teenaged boys also served time.

The sisters’ attorney and advocacy groups argued that the life sentences they both received were excessive given the amount stolen. Then-Gov. Haley Barbour granted Jamie Scott an early release in 2011 because she suffered from kidney failure, and he agreed to let Gladys Scott go on the condition she donate a kidney to her sister.

Jamie Scott’s kidney transplant was delayed because of her weight, but the sisters’ social media account announced in 2019 that she had the operation. By then, the sisters had relocated to Pensacola, Florida, and founded Sisters of Hope, which provides educational assistance and other aid to people leaving the corrections system and trying to complete a graduate equivalency degree.

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