Prison inmates in Massachusetts could be eligible for an entire year off their sentence if they agree to donate their organs.
The program, dubbed “Bill HD.3822,” has not yet passed through the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Many legal analysts do not believe it will. If by some chance it does, a five-person panel, including an organ donation expert from a local hospital and Department of Corrections officials, would define qualifying sentences. They would also create a database to track yearly organ donations and how many people receive them from prisoners.
While this practice has many scratching their heads, the bill assures lawmakers and donors that the DOC will not receive any compensation for donated body parts. The only people who will gain anything are the receiving patients and the inmates, who will be rewarded with 60 to 365 days shaved from their sentences.
The motive behind the law is the lengthy organ donation waiting list in the state. Currently, almost 5,000 residents are waiting for organ donations in order to survive. Over 100,000 people in the United States were waiting on a transplant of some kind as of March 2022. One of the bills co-sponsors, State Rep. Judith Garcia, hopes this move will alleviate these needs and save lives.
However, not everyone believes this is a good idea. Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a nonprofit fighting for fair sentencing, is against Bill HD.3822. FAMM thinks the practice is an unethical “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,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums in a statement to Insider.