Criminals and organ donation

In Massachusetts, criminals will be able to trade organs for a reduction in their days served.

Bill HD.3822, which would establish a “Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program,” was introduced late last month by state Reps. Carlos González and Judith García, both Democrats. If successful, it would allow those incarcerated in the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) to get 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.


Trading body parts is a sensitive topic. Even though plenty of ill people could need these healthy replacements to survive, a kibosh is put on this activity in the marketplace of unfettered exchanges. No cash- but trade is acceptable. A chain of trades is set up for kidney match-making for example. It’s a slower process than money for product as a sequence of events between unrelated people needs to be coordinated.

Instead of trading between family members who need a transplant, in this story, the incarcerated can trade off their debt to society. Ideally, the donors would not only be looking for their early release but have some personal interest in supporting the exchange. The intrusive nature of a medical procedure imposes a cost that must be balanced in some way.