Prisoners Can Donate Organs In Exchange For Reduced Prison Sentences

Massachusetts is set to pass a bill that would allow prisoners to reduce their prison sentences if they agree to donate their organs.

By Ryan Clancy | Published

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A bill forwarded in Massachusetts calling for inmates to donate their organs for a reduced sentence is controversial. Many people concerned about its legality and ethical it actually is. Some people who do not support the bill say it puts pressure on prisoners who want to be free. This new bill may collide with federal state law, which ensures that human organs are acquired legally and without any pressure. 

Along with the ethical concerns, there are also concerns about whether prisons even have the facilities to implement this bill and cope with the complications that could occur from these surgeries or would these inmates be kept in a hospital, which would have a significant amount of security risks. Many critics state the bill is coercive to inmates dying to receive their freedom back. 

The bill, if passed, would allow any inmate to receive a reduced sentence if they donated either bone marrow or an organ. The reduction they would receive could be between sixty days and a full year, depending on the size of the donation received. 

One of the sponsors for the controversial new law states that this potential new ruling is due to the inequality and unjust jailing within black and brown communities. There is a record-low number of organ donations from these communities, so by tying the two problems together, the politicians backing this bill think that they are solving both. 

The organ donation list in Massachusetts has over 4,000 people waiting on it, with over 100,000 people nationwide waiting for an organ donation. Nearly a third of these patients come from a black, Hispanic or Latino background.

While people can understand why politicians thought they were killing two birds with one stone, the actual bill itself comes across as inhumane and slightly “blackmailing.” In America, you cannot buy an organ; it is against the law, and his new bill violates that. 

But another politician who is a co-sponsor of this bill states that it is a voluntary program that if a prisoner does not want to give up bone marrow or an organ, they do not have to. They are also looking at another policy that would have inmates donate bone marrow and organs which any reduced sentencing, as there are no laws at present that stop anyone who is incarnated from organ donation. 

This is not the first time this bill has been tried, in 2007 in South Carolina, a similar bill was put forward to offer inmates a reduced sentence for an organ donation. After a wave of criticism, the state of South Carolina changes the bill to voluntary donations of organs from inmates if the patient is genetically related to the inmate. 

If it gets made into law, the new Massachusetts bill would have a committee of specified people that decide on the donation and the amount of reduction each inmate would receive. Also, there would be no remuneration for anyone working in the prisons who would take on this bill. It seems like this bill has more opposers than sponsors. It looks like an extreme way to get a lighter or reduced sentence.