Prison Organ Donation

Decent Essays
Should Prisoners be Organ Donors? Faced with a loved one’s organ failure and in need of an organ donor to survive, are we concerned with the organs origin? As of July 2017, according to the Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), there are 117,000 people on the organ waiting list (over 82% of those require a kidney), and an average of 22 people die each day waiting for organs (HRSA, 2017). Comparatively, the amount of prisoners executed in the United States each year is relatively small, yet one organ donor can save as many as eight lives and a cadaver can be used numerous ways in research (HRSA, 2017). Additionally, prisoners can be considered as live organ donors, especially when volunteering a kidney. Allowing inmate organ donations seems simple, yet it is shrouded with moral, ethical, and possible legal concerns. Arguments favoring or opposing incarcerated donors include the prisoner’s health, vulnerabilities, retribution, deterrence, and any form of compensation by reducing sentencing or stays of execution. The ethical aspect of medical staffs and courts involved in inmate executions and the removal of organs leads to heated discussions. Remarkably, there are no federal laws concerning inmate organ donors, and only Utah enacted state laws on the issue. Subsequently, other than Utah, any prisoner’s request to take part in organ donation is decided by prison officials or the governor where the inmate is confined. As the need for organs continues to outpace
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