A new bill proposed would let prisoners trade their organs for a reduced sentence KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Friday, February 3, 2023

A new bill proposed would let prisoners trade their organs for a reduced sentence

Prisoner advocates say that incarcerated individuals might feel pressured to trade their organs for free time. State Rep. Carlos González, one of the sponsors, told GBH News on Wednesday that is “far from the truth.” He said he has family members in prison, and is connected to a father of three hospitalized in a Massachusetts hospital suffering from stage-four kidney failure while waiting for a donor.

The idea, he said, is to broaden the pool of potential donors in an effective way to “increase the likelihood of Black and Latino family members and friends receiving life-saving treatment.” González, said this could benefit prisoners because it restores individual agency and decision-making.

“There is no law against prisoner organ donation,” he said. The committee in charge of proctoring the program, he said, would ensure the safety of every participant.

A program for donations would be established within the Massachusetts Department of Correction, and be run by a committee of five people, which include DOC leadership, an organ donor specialist, and two people from the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association and a prisoners’ rights group. It would create eligibility standards and proctor the program. Costs related to the donations would be covered by “benefiting institutions of the program."

González said legislators are open to expanding the number and breadth of people on the committee.

Forget sentence reductions for good behavior: With a proposed bill making its way through the Massachusetts legislature, inmates could receive up to a year off their jail sentence by donating their organs.

Bill HD.3822, called the "Act to establish the Massachusetts incarcerated individual bone marrow and organ donation program," would allow eligible incarcerated people to receive no fewer than 60 but no more than 365 days off their sentences for donating their marrow or organs. It has not passed through the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The act, if passed, would create a five-person panel to oversee the implementation of the program, made up of two Department of Corrections officials, an organ donation specialist from a state hospital, and two advocates focusing on organ donation and prisoners' rights. The panel would determine eligibility standards and file reports of annual donations and "estimated life-savings associated with said donations."

"There shall be no commissions or monetary payments to be made to the Department of Correction for bone marrow donated by incarcerated individuals," the proposed text reads.

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