Dying Inmate Released Early, After Prison Officials Take Second Look

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December 6, 2013

After nearly a decade incarcerated at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Fluvanna County, Donna Kidd received the word she had been waiting for. Prison officials told her she was going home, released early through medical clemency.

"I was in shock," Kid said about getting the news. "My heart dropped. I was so excited I couldn't cry. I felt like I've cried enough."

The 44-year-old suffers from Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis of the liver and her kidneys have begun to shut down. In July, doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center told Kidd she had about three months to live. The diagnosis led her family to apply for medical clemency so Kidd could spend her last days at home.

"Nobody wants to die in prison," said Kidd's sister, Barbara Kingery. "Especially if they aren't in there for a life sentence...They shouldn't have to die in there."

Kidd had less than one year left to serve on her 12-year sentence for fraud and larceny charges. In July, Kidd's doctors sent a letter to the Department of Corrections, recommending Kidd be granted medical clemency on 'humanitarian grounds'. After three months of no response, Kidd's family was informed in November that prison doctors did not agree and their request for early release was denied. But weeks later, prison officials overturned that decision and Governor Bob McDonnell granted Kidd medical clemency.

"If the Lord hadn't touched the Governor, I would still be there, probably dead by now," Kidd said.

Because she was granted a conditional release, Kidd must wear a GPS tracking device and can't leave her mother's house. But her family members are just grateful to be able to spend time with her.

"I have wished so many Christmases that my mom would be home and now she is," said Kidd's 16-year-old daughter, Melissa. "It's pretty great."

Kidd and her family know her days are numbered, but say they are determined to make up for lost time.

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