The Useful Not-Dead

At least the Chinese have the courtesy not to extract organs from prisoners until after they are dead. South Carolina doesn't want to wait that long. A proposal there would allow prisoners to reduce their sentences in exchange for donating body parts.

There is a definite need for more donor organs - many people die while waiting for a suitable transplant specimen to become available. Assuming the prisoners are fully informed of the risks to their own health and are mentally capable of making a free decision, there may not be anything wrong with it.

On the other hand, I have a hard time reconciling this idea with the proper ends of justice, i.e. punishing and hopefully rehabilitating criminals. Reducing a sentence in exchange for a literal pound of flesh doesn't seem quite right. It also doesn't seem fair to those prisoners whose organs are not desirable, possibly through no fault of their own.

There are other ways to increase the supply of organs. How about we give them a try before we start harvesting prisoner bodies?

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