Small Government Watch: Haley Barbour

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 30 2010 10:42 AM

Small Government Watch: Haley Barbour

Gov. Haley Barbour will grant early release to Gladys and Jamie Scott, African-American sisters who had served 16 years of a life sentence -- a sentence given to them for an armed robbery that netted $11. As Krissah Thompson reports, it was a case that the NAACP had publicized for years, and Barbour, who has not often used his pardon power like this, makes quite the gesture to black voters. (Read Radley Balko on that. )

And then there's this condition.

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Barbour said he decided to suspend the sentences in light of the poor health of 38-year-old Jamie Scott, who requires regular dialysis. The governor asserted that 36-year-old Gladys Scott's release is contingent on her giving a kidney to her inmate sibling. 

I can't immediately find many or any examples of a condition like this. Send them if you see them. It strikes me as a unique way for a potential presidential candidate to use clemency without looking soft on crime.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.