13 Comments
Aug 1, 2022Liked by Sally Satel

Redemption is good. I understand the ethical argument of creating a greater incentive to execute criminals, but I doubt the causality of that argument. People usually want executions for punishment reasons. I doubt that putting more people on death row in order to harvest their organs will relate to these punishment pursuers. I would anticipate it would be politically ruinous to put more people on death row under this policy saying, "We want their organs--that's why they're there." And yet, it makes sense for those with nothing left to give to want to give their organs. For their sake and others.

I'm for it. Thanks Sally. Let me know where I can help.

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sign your donor card ...or consider becoming a Good Samaritan donor...yes, a lot to ask but people who do it are profoundly moved and -- and! -- you will save a life!

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What could possibly go wrong with giving Abbott, or any of the other Governors of the states that execute people, this sort of power? Besides providing a "moral" justification for continuing their policies of executing the poor (who are the only people executed, of course), it provides unimaginable opportunities for abuse. How about eliminating the death penalty, and letting any willing prisoner become an organ donor? Or would state officials even then find ways to exert undue influence in order to extract organs in exchange for privileges, up to and including parole release? Those incarcerated folks are utterly at the mercy of other people (and a huge percentage are mentally ill), and these sorts of contractual agreements ought not have such glaring power imbalances. Better think this one through really, really carefully, AEI.

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Also, UNOS would refuse to procure the organs and doctors would not transplant them Your point is a nice thing to raise in a college seminar, but not a real life problem

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Best solution is allow the rest of is to donate in exchange for a large refundable tax credit. Until the pig kidneys are ready.

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Aug 1, 2022Liked by Sally Satel

How about this: let Bryan Stevenson write the legislation, and his Equal Justice Institute (or other reputable prisoner's rights organization) administer it. Solves my concerns! I just don't want Greg Abbott & Co. writing it, and his Commissioner of Prisons involved in it in any way. There's a history of this sort of thing, and it is not pretty.

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Good choice!

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Harvesting prisoners' organs is a slippery slope.

The US has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world (Prison Policy Initiative). This result excludes China, as we don't have reliable stats for China.

In addition, many prisons are for-profit businesses. Hence, policies within this system will be driven by or "tainted" by profit considerations.

Lastly, there is a racial and ethnical disparity in state prisons (The Color of Justice Report). Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites.

So we hardly have a fair and unbiased system that could be used as a source of organ donations.

Giving prisoners the freedom "to make their own choice" is suspect when we have such systemic problems in our current system.

To better understand the possible corruption of a prisoner organ donation system, you can investigate the following sources:

Start investigating the tribunal on China's organ harvesting at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Tribunal

See the movie "Never Let Me Go" (2010) on human farms for organ harvesting.

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The system may be biased and unfair, but the racial makeup of the prisons can only hint at that, not prove it.

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Michael, I agree. The issue is complicated. I included it as a means to show the uncertainty around the argument for organ donations. Thanks for the reply.

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My husband is alive 17 years since liver transplant.I strongly feel prisoners ought to have the honor of helping others thru donation of organs.It is tremendously foolish of the powers that be to heartlessly thwart this process.

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My wife donated a kidney to a stranger about ten years ago. She was put through a pretty onerous process of repeated psychological evaluations and other hurdles before she was allowed to do it. I'm not saying the hurdles were uncalled-for and I'm not saying they will invariably prevent abuse of the system, but I suspect that something like that could allay some fears about prisoner's donating.

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founding

If you have a little time, I suggest reading "The Jigsaw Man" by Larry Niven.

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