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New Massachusetts Legislation Proposes Sentence Reduction for Inmate Organ Donors

February 3, 2023 | By KGB Staff

Massachusetts lawmakers introduce legislation to allow prisoner organ and bone marrow donations, reports HuffPost. The bill aims to create a Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program within the Department of Correction and establish a Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Committee. According to the proposal, incarcerated individuals could potentially receive sentence reductions ranging from 60 days to one year by participating in the program as organ or bone marrow donors.

The committee will work to establish higher standards for prisoner eligibility and set guidelines for the number of donations that can result in sentence reduction.

The bill also prohibits the Department of Correction from profiting from inmate bone marrow donations, in accordance with the federal ban on buying and selling organs.

While federal prisons in the U.S. allow for organ donations to immediate family members, the same opportunities are not extended to prisoners in state facilities such as Massachusetts. The current system often leaves incarcerated individuals unable to donate organs or bone marrow, even to their own relatives.

This new committee is poised to bring much-needed change and support to those impacted by the criminal justice system.” The program is aimed at combating the ongoing shortage of organ donors in the US.As reported by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), over 104,457 individuals are in dire need of an organ transplant, with 59,027 of them currently on waiting lists. In Massachusetts alone, close to 5,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. 

However, critics argue that offering reduced prison time in exchange for organ donations is unethical, manipulative, and will take advantage of the desperation and vulnerability of prisoners.

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