Massachusetts could offer reduced sentences for donating organs

Massachusetts could offer reduced sentences for donating organs

Prisoners in Massachusetts may be able to get their sentences reduced in exchange for donating their organs or bone marrow if a proposed law is passed in the US state.

Two Democratic state lawmakers proposed a bill with the aim of establishing an organ and donation program within the state department of corrections.

If it passes into law, the program will allow eligible incarcerated people to gain not more than 60 and not more than 365 day reduction in the length of their committed sentence. A committee would be set up with five members responsible for overseeing the scheme. The committee would decide eligibility standards for incarcerated individuals who are interested in the program and the amount of bone marrow and organ donations by inmates if the recipient is a member of their immediate family, but many state prisons, including Massachusetts, don't have a pathway to organ or bone marrow donation.

Even if they were a registered organ donor, no state allows organ donation from executed prisoners.

There are currently 104,413 people in the US waiting for an organ transplant, 58,970 of which are on an active waiting list, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing UNOS.

Judith Garcia, a Democratic state representative of Massachusetts'11th district in Suffolk, said the bill would restore bodily autonomy to incarcerated people by giving them the chance to donate organs and bone marrow, and recognize incarcerated donors decisions by offering reduced sentences.

We are concerned about the potential impact of inadequate medical care in carceral settings and the potential for coercion. White told the news organization that they believe the solution must address the underlying structural problems that lead to health disparities, including the needless incarceration of so many who could live freely and safely in our communities.