Legislators Suggest Allowing Massachusetts Inmates Give Organs For Shorter Sentences

A new law has been filed on Beacon Hill. This law would make it possible for inmates in the state of Massachusetts to donate their organs in exchange for reduced sentences.

On the provision that the convicted person has offered bone marrow or organs, the proposal would reduce a person’s prison term by anything from 60 days to an entire year.

Led By Democrats

Judith Garcia, a Democrat from Chelsea, and Carlos Gonzalez, a Democrat from Springfield, are the two representatives. They are sponsoring the bill to create the Massachusetts jailed person bone marrow and organ donation program.

They say it would reestablish personal integrity to imprisoned folks and broaden the pool of donors, particularly for people of color who have difficulty finding a match.

In addition, it would make organ donation easier. However, some are vehemently opposed to this and argue it may even be against the law.

Donation of organs is now permitted in federal prisons in the United States; however, the receiver must be a member of the donor’s immediate family.

The goal of the Massachusetts bill in the legislative process is to create a donation program that will be run by the state’s Department of Prisons. There are around 5,000 people living in the state who are currently waiting for an organ transplant.

It would be up to a committee of five people to decide who might take part in the program and establish the connection between different kinds of donations and the lengthening or shortening of the sentence.

There would be no monetary transactions or payments involved.

Inhumane, At Least

State Representative Carlos Gonzalez believes if there were more possible donors available, it would be easier for individuals in need of transplants to receive treatment that might save their lives.

According to his statement to Boston.com, he was in part motivated by a close friend who suffers from stage four kidney disease and is required to undergo dialysis.

On the other hand, some people think the bill would foster negative preconceptions about prisoners being “subhuman.”

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Romilda Pereira, the founder of Project Turnaround, compared it to the practice of organ donation. It just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t feel humane. You are using weak individuals as bargaining chips for control of their time.

The suggestion was described as “perverse” by an epidemiologist working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to the newspaper.

According to Monik Jiménez, there are clear methods that might involve free communities in the process of teaching them about the possibilities of organ and bone marrow donation. Though using the population of people who are currently behind bars as a source is, at best, problematic and, at worst, exploitative.

This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.