- Category: Inspiration
- Created on 19 January 2016
- Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder
- Hits: 1446
SURVIVORS, SPIRITED, MOTHERS, AUTHORS, TRAILBLAZING INJUSTICES HUMBLY
A CRY FOR FREEDOM FROM BEHIND INVISIBLE WALLS
During the holiday season, families gather and create lasting memories. The smell of Momma’s or Grandma’s aromatic cooking filters through the air, and promises of fulfilling conversation, catching up on all the gossip, and listening to the family comedian follows.
On December 24, 1993, Gladys and Jamie Scott…or the “Scott Sisters,” started their holiday celebrating two births…Christ, and their dad, James Rasco, and ended it unexpectedly in mayhem. The Christmas season would not hold the same meaning ever again. Days earlier, an innocent trip to a local store, turned out to be a devastating nightmare, in a county (Scott) that in a twisted fate, bared their last name.
Those old enough to remember, can recall the outrage that followed as two African-American women barely in their adult life were given “double-life” sentences. In the wake of the injustices that are spreading rampantly through the nation, this is not surprising. However, even today, a double-life sentence does not seem fair to the crime for which they were convicted…Armed Robbery,and no one was hurt.Gladys and Jamie Scott didn’t stand a chance in southern Forest, Mississippi- mainly due to hidden circumstances that led up to their downfall. Painted as cold-blooded criminals who “allegedly” plotted a robbery with three young boys, these women were dealt a hand you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Yet, their adversary would become the very entity Americans hoped to be their protector…the judicial system. “Innocent until proven guilty” took on new meaning with these sisters, because it was never present from the beginning.
If you are not familiar with them, just Google “Scott Sisters,” and you will be flooded with links sharing their story, in one form or another. Recently, the sisters set out to tell theirowndetailed story in the fall of 2015 in their book, The Scott Sisters: Revealing the Truth, Exposing Injustice and Trusting God. It’s been 22 years and a lot has transpired. They served 16 life-altering years for a crime in which they maintain their innocence. They were released in unprecedented circumstances (from the outpouring of supporters), because of Jamie’s need for a kidney transplant. Their biggest advocate, their mother Evelyn Rasco, passed away after years of fighting for their release. But, what many have NOT come to know…is the “story-behind-the-story.” Paroled on January 7, 2011, what most would consider a blessing, is a reoccurring curse behind invisible walls. Now, 5 years free from the dreary, cold, torturous, house of pain that was home for those gut-wrenching years, imprisonment of the worst kind is ever-present—lifetime parole.
Gladys and Jamie must pay $52 monthly for parole, have curfew, get permission to travel, and be tested for drugs. In addition, they are subjected to surprise visits from a parole officer, and custody of the children they were snatched from when they were babies, is limited. Even if they were guilty, a double life or a lifetime of parole is extremely harsh for two women with no priors for a mere $11-$200. Their story eerily mimics the 1931 Alabama case of the “Scottsboro Boys” with false imprisonment, poor legal representation, coerced testimony, and conviction of innocent lives based on the lies of their White accusers. The questions remain: What happened to warrant such sentencing? Why did the State release them on lifetime parole? What are they hiding? Why won’t they pardon them?
Many of these inquiries can be found in their book. One particularly obvious notion, is thegood ‘ole boyjustice that occurred when their father, James Rasco refused to comply with local law enforcement; and, the questioning of Jamie and Gladys on their father’s life and connections with his night club dealings at the time of their arrest. Several red flags appear in their book. Their father ran a night club, Sugar Hill, with illegal alcohol, which in those days was overlooked by greasing the palms of certain officials. An excerpt states the following: “Daddy’s behind-the-scene connections led to a few special requests from some high-powered officials in Scott County. These officials wanted a piece of Daddy’s profits…they wanted a cut.” Another thing that raises an eyebrow, is the fact that both in their book and in a 2010 article in the Jackson Free Pressby Ward Schaefer, discrepancies have been discovered in both evidence and alleged testimonies by witnesses, including the boys involved, either dispelling their guilt or supporting their innocence. Yet, the State of Mississippi’s Governor still has not seen fit to give them a pardon.
Although, they still find themselves struggling with the judicial scars in the wake of all that has happened, their faith, the love of family, their Pastor, and those who still believe in them have provided comfort. Nevertheless, Jamie and Gladys will not rest until they can live as any other humans in this land we call, “The Land of the Free.” For them, it’s not just enough to be outside prison walls as they are--because they are continuously serving time for a crime they didn’t commit. They want SUPREME JUSTICE…they want a PARDON. Then, they can continue to build on the life that God has granted them and help others with their testimony in the process.
Today, Gladys Scott, a pillar of strength and still her “sister’s keeper,” works for a local attorney in Pensacola, Florida, and recently purchased a new home. Jamie Scott, humble but determined, is in school working on her degree, and still waiting on her kidney transplant as she endures dialysis weekly. They speak to organizations, youth, and ministries about their book and the life story they are still waiting to close the chapter on entitled, “Free At Last.”
You can follow them on FaceBook:Scott Sistersto see updates for where you can purchase the book.