For those of you who stay up at night, worrying that the government is trying to steal your organs, today brings news that will likely confirm your suspicions: Mississippi has commuted the life sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott, two sisters convicted of armed robbery, on the condition that one will donate a kidney to her ailing older sister. From Governor Haley Barbour's official statement:
"The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi."
On the one hand, Haley Barbour is getting major kudos for this from the NAACP (which has advocated on behalf of the Scott sisters for some time now), a big turnaround after his unfortunate statements about pre-civil rights Mississippi not being "that bad." On the other hand, experts say that this is a pretty huge violation of the federal law banning the offer of "valuable consideration" in exchange for organs.
So what do you think – efficient, creative policy, or the terrifying beginning of our descent into life in The Matrix?