The New York Times and other outlets  are reporting a story about paroling two sisters previously sentenced to life imprisonment on the condition that one sister provide a kidney. Per the reports, the pardoning or parole of these two women convicted of armed robbery for $11. They have been in prison 16 years. One sister required daily dialysis for the kidney condition.

Does this bother anyone else? The Governor conditioned the release upon kidney donation, though no one knows whether the women are even a tissue match. Granted, the Department of Corrections will save a much money by releasing the sick sister, but is a conditional release appropriate?

If the sentence originally imposed was unjust, shouldn’t the governor just parole both women unconditionally? Will states now create fiscally responsible parole conditions in other cases? Traditionally, states will release inmates who are perceived to no longer be a threat due to illness and near death. The conundrum in this Mississippi case is both women with the same facts were convicted and the same sentence imposed. The Governor cannot parole one for medical reasons and NOT release the other.

Have we as a society devolved to an evaluation of punishment and rehabilitation based on fiscal responsibility versus actual justice and real potential for rehabilitation?


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