Proposal to reduce sentence in exchange for organ donation
Under a controversial proposal in Massachusetts, detainees could be encouraged to donate their organs and bone marrow in exchange for a chance to be released more quickly.
Detainees will have their prison sentences reduced from 60 to 365 days
The law is officially known as Bill HD.3822, and it is described as “an act intended to establish a Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program for Individuals incarcerated in Massachusetts.”
Through this program, inmates will have the opportunity to have their sentences reduced “provided the incarcerated person has donated bone marrow or organ(s). Specifically, participants will be able to get their sentences reduced from 60 to 365 days.
The bill would certainly also note, “No commission or monetary payment shall be made to the Department of Corrections for bone marrow donated by incarcerated individuals.” In addition, an “annual report” to track “estimated savings related to said donations” will be kept if the bill is passed.
Representative argued the Bill would ‘Restore bodily autonomy to detainees’
State Representative Judith Garcia (D-Mass.) was one of the politicians who presented the bill, and she analyzed it in an infographic on Twitter.
She said the bill would “establish an avenue for voluntary organ and bone marrow donation” for those incarcerated in Massachusetts, as “there is currently no avenue” in place. Additionally, Garcia stated that the opportunity would “restore physical autonomy to detainees” while also providing the benefit of reduced sentences.
This is Volume I of Garcia’s Guide to the Law! #mapoli pic.twitter.com/TqmrAYZRHc
– Representative Judith García (@GarciaJudithMA) January 27, 2023
Activists Criticize Bill as ‘immoral & Depraved’
Despite Garcia’s infographic, there are some major objections to the bill.
In a statement to Insider, Kevin Ring — president of a nonprofit called The Family Against Mandatory Minimums — called the proposal “something beyond the sci-fi book.” fantasy or horror story”.
“It was like something straight out of a science fiction book or a horror story. It’s just this kind of idea that we have a nucleus that has body parts [we] will harvest because they are not like us or because they are so hungry for freedom that they are willing to do this.”
He went on to outline how this measure differs from other initiatives that offer “good time credit” in exchange for participating in rehabilitation programs.
“In most state systems, you earn good time credits for engaging in programming to reduce the risk of recidivism, so those make sense. Those are the things that are at least connected, related, to releasing them soon. However, this seems not to be the case.”
Additionally, Ring points out, “It just begs the question: What about two years for an amputee? What’s going on here? It’s dark.”
Bad news: You’ve just been sentenced to prison in Massachusetts.
Good news: You have organs and bone marrow to spare and a new bill will let you trade those in for a sentence reduction of up to a year! https://t.co/g85csi5uJ3
– Kevin’s Ring (@KevinARing) January 30, 2023
Michael Cox, executive director of Black and Pink Massachusetts, a prison abolitionist organization, offered similar critiques. Boston report.
“When I saw the bill, I found it unethical and depraved. And the reason is because selling organs is unethical; encouraging the sale of organs for very, very good reasons is unethical.”
What do you think of the proposed bill, as well as the criticisms against it?