BOSTON (WWLP) – A bill filed on Beacon Hill has made national headlines. The new bill would allow prisoners to donate their bone marrow or organs for a reduced sentence. Some are saying it will save lives, others think it’s extreme.
The Bill was filed this session by Representatives Carlos Gonzalez and Judith Garcia. If a prisoner gave a donation, their sentence would be reduced between 60 days and a year.
When Representative Garcia tweeted about the bill, it was immediately criticized by her followers for being “coercive” and “disgusting.” According to Garcia’s tweet, there is currently no pathway for a prisoner to be able to provide a donation, and this bill would create that.
Prisoners’ Legal Services is concerned with the legislation. They said in a statement, “We acknowledge the issues that the bill sponsors are trying to address but are concerned regarding the potential for coercion and impact of inadequate medical care in carceral settings. We believe the solution must target the underlying structural problems leading to health disparities.”
However, Representative Carlos Gonzalez believes this is about equity, “We must provide every person who is incarcerated with the guidance of medical experts and advocates in order to ensure them the same rights and opportunities that every individual in Massachusetts has to save the life of their mother, father, brother, sister, child or friend.”
According to Gonzalez’s office, two out of three white people find a bone marrow match, where people of color have less than a 50% chance of finding a match. Gonzalez said he is open to discussions regarding the reduction of time, and if that aspect of the bill is appropriate.