PENSACOLA, Fla. — A proposed kidney transplant that helped win two Mississippi sisters their freedom from prison can’t take place until one quits smoking and they lose a combined 160 pounds.
Jamie and Gladys Scott had served nearly 16 years of their life sentences for an armed robbery when they were released from prison in Mississippi on Jan. 7. Governor Haley Barbour granted Jamie Scott an early release because she suffers from kidney failure, but he agreed to let Gladys Scott go on the condition she follow through on an offer to donate a kidney to her sister.
Jamie Scott said yesterday she needs to lose more than 100 pounds and her sister has to shed 60 pounds before their doctors will test them for compatibility. Doctors are also requiring Gladys Scott, a heavy smoker, to quit.
“I have to stay on her about it. I am helping her to stop smoking,’’ said Jamie, who moved with her sister to Pensacola to be with their mother and children.
A personal trainer works twice a week with the sisters. They have also been taking aerobics classes.
Barbour has not responded directly to questions about whether he will send the sisters back to prison if the transplant doesn’t happen. He’s called questions about such a scenario “purely hypothetical.’’
When he made the decision to let the sisters out, Barbour noted that Jamie Scott’s dialysis was costing Mississippi about $200,000 a year. In granting Gladys Scott an early release, he attached the condition that she donate a kidney to her sister within one year.
Civil rights advocates had called for the sisters’ freedom for years, saying their sentences were too harsh for the crime. They were convicted of participating in the robbery of two men on Christmas Eve 1993.
Prosecutors said the women led two men into an ambush. The robbery didn’t net much; amounts cited have ranged from $11 to $200.