Would You Trade Your Body Parts For Your Freedom?

One state is proposing a bill to allow inmates time off their sentence if they donate organs.

Damian Delune


Photo by Nhia Moua on Unsplash

By: Demeter V Delune

In headlines I never thought I would read anywhere other than The Onion, this week I was scrolling through a Twitter thread about women in comas being used as human incubators (which is horrific enough) when I saw something else I never thought I would read.

A Massachusetts bill could allow prisoners to swap their organs for their freedom.

Excuse me? This had to be a joke, right? Nope. It’s absolutely serious. As I read the article, which I’ve linked here, and yes, that’s from MIT, the incredulity just grew.

Why? Well beyond the obvious, it’s targeting a population that’s already desperate — inmates who don’t want to be in prison.

Not only because the percentage of marginalized communities makes up the majority of the population of inmates: African American men incarcerated in the Federal Bureau of Prisons is over 38% and Hispanic men is 30%, but it’s dangerous.

The conditions in a prison are not remotely optimal to recover from major surgery. And as the article mentioned, getting 100 percent accurate medical information from inmates is going to be tricky. A lot of these people are former drug addicts, have lived in poverty most of their lives, been malnourished (and probably still are), and don’t have access to the best medical care in their current situation.

Yet, they’re going to be highly motivated to apply for this program. Of course they want time off their sentences. Who wouldn’t? So of course they’re going to be motivated to apply and say whatever they need to in order to qualify.

The thing with organ recipients is, there’s a waiting list and a panel of doctors who must approve you getting the organ you need. So even if an inmate “qualifies” as a donor, there is no guarantee that organ will be used, so wouldn’t that be a waste? Other than them potentially getting time off their sentence, what would be the point in putting them through a potentially dangerous procedure, just for their donation not to be…



Damian Delune

Incarcerated writer sharing real stories about life on the inside, through my wife, Demeter Delune (editor, publisher, promoter, responder)