Utah could join states allowing prisoners to donate organs

octobre 18,2012 http://www.sltrib.com

A Utah lawmaker wants to make it possible for inmates to do a final good act if they happen to die while serving time.

Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, is again proposing a bill that would allow inmates to voluntarily agree to posthumously donate their organs. In the 2012 session, his bill passed the House but time ran out before it could be considered by the Utah Senate. The criminal justice interim committee approved the inmate medical donation act on Wednesday.

In some respects, it’s a way for someone who is trying to pay their dues to society to get one last shot on their way out,” he said in an interview.

Over the past four years, an average of 15 inmates have died each year while incarcerated, according to the Utah Department of Corrections. The department began including organ-donor consent forms in the paperwork given to inmates during orientation at the end of 2011 after speaking with Eliason about his proposal.

“They liked the idea so much they implemented it anyway even though it did not become law,” Eliason said.

Mike Haddon, Corrections deputy director, told the interim committee that inmates are being given donor forms as they go through medical and dental screenings upon arrival at the prison. He said that in the past, organ donation “was a consideration” for some inmates as they passed away.

But Eliason still wants it enshrined in statute so the policy isn’t subject to the whims of changing administrations. He said he also plans to include jails in this year’s draft legislation.

Laws governing organ donation by either living or deceased prison inmates — a population that numbers about 2 million — vary from state to state. Federal law prohibits compensating donors for organs, and that bars prisoners, like others, from benefiting in any way.

Nationwide, there are 116,000 people on the waiting list for organs; about 80 percent are waiting for a kidney, according to data from the United Network for Organ Sharing. There have been about 16,586 transplants so far this year, most using organs from deceased donors. In Utah, 705 people are on waiting lists for organs, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

A single healthy donor can provide up to 24 different organs and tissues — from kidneys to skin to corneas — that can help others, Eliason said.


By doing some research on the states that allow organ donation, I discovered a website called G.A.V.E (prisoner organ donation) from willing Inmates. http://www.gavelife.org/

G.A.V.E. is an organization set up to make a difference in the organ shortage in the U.S. with the help of willing and healthy volunteer prisoners.  Prisoners frequently ask to help through living kidney donations or multiple donations after execution to anyone in need.  However, they are just as frequently denied unnecessarily by prison administration and transplant authorities.

There are typically only between 10,000-15,000 donations given annually which provide organs for a small fraction of the greater than 112,000 Americans on waiting lists.  Yet inmates make up nearly 2,000,000 potential donors.  If just 1% chose to participate and were allowed to do so, this would nearly double the number of current organ donations in the U.S. While this won’t solve the problem, it will have a dramatic impact.

This site explores why donations from willing prisoners are not occurring now and advocates for a change to allow healthy and willing inmates the opportunity to save lives.

If the interested visitor finds the content and ideas of this site intriguing, meritorious, or worthy of debate, G.A.V.E. welcomes your input.  Of course, G.A.V.E. is looking for your support, but the quickest way to kindle a fire is to rub two opposing opinions together.

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