Tennessee Jails Are Offering Inmates Shorter Sentences In Exchange For Sterilization

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CBS Local — Tennessee inmates can receive upwards of 30 days cut from jail sentences if they agree to get a vasectomy or insert a contraceptive device into their body.

White County in rural Tennessee started the program, which has been called into question by local district attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union alike, CBS affiliate NewsChannel 5 reported.

“Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional,” the ACLU said in a statement.

White County jails have been offering to trade cut jail sentences for sterilization since May 15, when General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield implemented an order that allowed agreeing inmates up to 30 days reduced from their sentences.

The order’s purpose was to discourage inmates with drug offenses and extensive criminal records from conceiving children that they cannot support, Benningfield said.

“I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance, when they do get out, to not to be burdened with children,” he told the station.

But District Attorney Bryant Dunaway said offering incentives that limit someone’s ability to have children is unethical, and possibly illegal.

“It’s comprehensible that an 18-year-old gets this done, it can’t get reversed and then that impacts the rest of their life,” he said.

As of Thursday, 38 men are waiting to undergo the vasectomy procedure and 32 women have received the contraceptive implant.

[H/T: NewsChannel 5]

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