Bill would slash prison time for inmates who give organs
Surgeons perform surgery in hospital (AFP)

The Massachusetts state legislature has proposed a law that would cut a prison inmate's sentence if they became organ donors.

The "Massachusetts Incarcerated Individual Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program" aims to "restore bodily autonomy to incarcerated folks," Gizmodo reports.

The program, proposed by Democratic state Representatives Carlos González and Judith García, would slash a sentence by 60 days to a year if they become organ donors. But Gizmodo's Jody Serrano asks, "is it a donation if you’re giving something in exchange for something else?"

"The program would be managed by a five-member Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Committee ...which would include members from the state’s Department of Corrections, a bone marrow and donation specialist, and an advocate for inmates," Serrano writes. "The committee would also be responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and 'the amount of bone marrow and organ(s) donated to earn one’s sentence to be commuted.'"

When news of the proposal hit social media, some compared it to organ harvesting. Speaking to Insider, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) president Kevin Ring said the proposed program makes prisoners into “subhumans.”

“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,” Ring said. “Those are things that are at least connected, relevant, to releasing them early. This one seems like it’s not, though and it just begs the question, like, how about two years off for a limb, for an amputee? What’s going on here? It’s dark.”

Rep. González says the criticism is unwarranted. “I have family members in prison and have been a staunch supporter of inmate rights and reform,” González said.

“The same program could be established without a reduction in sentencing,” González said. “We are open to having discussions, throughout the course of the legislative session, on whether a sentence reduction component is appropriate.”

Proponents of the bill added that inmates would only be eligible for donation “in exceptional circumstances” when there are no other options for the recipient.