A new bill proposed in Massachusetts would allow incarcerated individuals the option of donating their organs or bone marrow in exchange for a reduction in their sentences. The bill, known as Bill HD.3822, was introduced last month by state Representatives Carlos González and Judith García, both Democrats. If passed, it would allow those incarcerated in the Massachusetts Department of Correction to have their sentence reduced anywhere between 60 days and 12 months in exchange for their bodily offering, which may include a liver or kidney, among other vital body parts.
Proponents of the bill believe the program will expand the state’s pool of donors and “restore bodily autonomy” to inmates, however, ethics experts say it’s potentially exploitative and may also be illegal. Critics say tying an incentive to such a serious decision puts unfair pressure on an already vulnerable population and may threaten to exacerbate racial injustice and inequality in the administration of criminal law. The Federal Bureau of Prisons currently allows incarcerated inmates to donate their kidneys to members of their family, but many states, like Massachusetts, do not have an official pathway to do so.