Under a controversial proposal in Massachusetts, incarcerated people could be incentivized to donate their organs and bone marrow in exchange for a swifter chance at freedom.
Incarcerated People Would Receive Between 60 & 365 Days Off Their Prison Sentence
The legislation is formally known as Bill HD.3822, and it’s described as “an act to establish the Massachusetts incarcerated individual Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program.”
Through this program, inmates would receive the chance to have their sentenced reduced “on the condition that the incarcerated individual has donated bone marrow or organ(s).” Participants would specifically be able to receive between 60 and 365 days off their sentence.
The bill is sure to also note, “There shall be no commissions or monetary payments to be made to the Department of Correction for bone marrow donated by incarcerated individuals.” Additionally, “annual reports” to keep track of “the estimated life-savings associated with said donations” will be kept, if the bill passes.
Representative Argues Bill Would ‘Restore Bodily Autonomy To Incarcerated Folks’
State Rep. Judith Garcia (D-Mass.) is one of the politicians who presented the bill, and she broke it down in a Twitter infographic.
She says that the bill would “establish a voluntary path to organ and bone marrow donation” among incarcerated people in Massachusetts, as “there is currently no path” in place. Additionally, Garcia states that the opportunity would “restore bodily autonomy to incarcerated folks” while simultaneously offering the benefit of a reduced sentence.
— Rep Judith García (@GarciaJudithMA) January 27, 2023
Activists Slam Bill As ‘Unethical & Depraved’
Despite Garcia’s infographic, there is some loud opposition to the bill.
In a statement to Insider, Kevin Ring—president of a nonprofit called Families Against Mandatory Minimums—referred to the proposal as “something out of a science fiction book or horror story.”
“It seems like something out of a science fiction book or horror story. It’s just this sort of idea that we have this class of subhumans whose body parts [we] will harvest because they’re not like us or because they’re so desperate for freedom that they’d be willing to do this.”
He went on to outline how this bill differs from other initiatives that offer “good time credits” in exchange for participating in rehabilitative programs.
“In most state systems, you earn good time credits from participating in programming that is intended to reduce your risk of reoffending, so those things make sense. Those are things that are at least connected, relevant, to releasing them early. This one seems like it’s not, though.”
Additionally, Ring pointed out, “It just begs the question: How about two years off for a limb, for an amputee? What’s going on here? It’s dark.”
Bad news: You were just sentenced to prison in Massachusetts.
Good news: You have internal organs and bone marrow to spare and a new bill would allow you to trade those for up to a year off your sentence! https://t.co/g85csi5uJ3
— Kevin Ring (@KevinARing) January 30, 2023
Similar critiques were expressed by Michael Cox—the executive director of Black and Pink Massachusetts, a prison abolition organization, Boston reports.
“When I saw the bill, it just smacked as unethical and depraved. And the reason is because it is unethical to sell organs; it is unethical to incentivize the selling of organs for very, very good reasons.”
What are your thoughts on the proposed bill, as well as the critiques against it?