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US: Massachusetts prisoners to donate organs for shorter sentences
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Two State Representatives in Massachusetts have tabled a new bill that would allow prisoners to have their sentence reduced if they donate an organ or bone marrow. Under the proposal, incarcerated individuals would be able to get between 60 days and a whole year off their prison sentence after donating. The sponsoring lawmakers have defended the legislation arguing it would help the state expand the pool of viable donors and “restore bodily autonomy to incarcerated folks.”
Garcia noted there is “currently no path to organ or bone marrow donation for incarcerated folks in MA—even for relatives.”
She insisted subscription to the scheme would be “voluntary” and the State would “recognize incarcerated donors’ decision by offering a reduced sentence.”
Rep Gonzalez said the proposal would also provide minorities in Massachusetts a higher chance of finding an organ because of the makeup of the current prison population.
He told Motherboard: “Hispanics and African Americans have higher rates of diabetes and heart disease.
“Broadening the pool of potential donors is an effective way to increase the likelihood of Black and Latino family members and friends receiving life-saving treatment.
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Massachusetts lawmakers are proposing letting prisoners donate organs to shorten sentences (Image: GETTY)
Garcia insisted the bill would restore the bodily autonomy of prisoners (Image: TWITTER/@GarciaJudithMA)
According to the latest data, 27.76 percent of prisoners in Massachusetts are Black, and 29.23 percent are Latinx.
But the proposal sparked an ethical debate on the inherent power imbalance between prisoners and the prison system, with some suggesting it could lead to “exploitative practices”.
“Their freedom to choose is based not on their will to help others but on the condition that takes advantage of their emotional distress. This is what makes the bill unethical.”
Caburog added: “Moreover, convincing prisoners to donate organs can be very risky for transplant recipients.
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The proposal has sparked a debate on the ethical treatment of prisoners (Image: GETTY)
“Prisoners do not have the best health conditions due to limited access to good nutrition and increased exposure to serious infections and environmental hazards.
“Though medical tests are required before the donation, some diseases can only be detected at the latter stage. The state should never put recipients at this kind of risk because it does more harm than good in general.”