Lawmakers propose letting Massachusetts prisoners donate organs for reduced sentences

Bill would allow Massachusetts prisoners to donate organs for shorter sentences

BOSTON - A new bill proposed on Beacon Hill would allow Massachusetts prisoners to donate their organs for reduced sentences.

The legislation would give people anywhere from 60 days to a year off their prison sentence "on the condition that the incarcerated individual has donated bone marrow or organ(s)."

The "act to establish the Massachusetts incarcerated individual bone marrow and organ donation program" is sponsored by Democratic Reps. Judith Garcia, of Chelsea, and Carlos Gonzalez of Springfield. 

They say it would "restore bodily autonomy to incarcerated folks" and expand the pool of donors, especially for people of color who struggle to find a match. But critics strongly disagree and say it might even be illegal.

"It's like you're harvesting organs. It just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel humane," Project Turnaround founder Romilda Pereira told The Boston Globe. "You're bargaining with vulnerable people over their time."

A Brigham & Women's Hospital epidemiologist told the newspaper that the proposal was "perverse."

"There are certainly ways we can engage our free communities in educating them about the options of organ and bone marrow donation," Monik Jiménez said. "But going to our incarcerated population as a source is problematic, at best, and exploitative."  

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