Tags: judge | prisoners | tennessee | sterilized

Tennessee Judge to Prisoners: Get Sterilized and You'll Get Out Faster

Image: Tennessee Judge to Prisoners: Get Sterilized and You'll Get Out Faster
(Bebeto Matthews,/AP File)

By    |   Friday, 21 Jul 2017 01:12 PM

A judge in Tennessee has made an attractive but angst-inducing offer to male and female inmates: agree to be sterilized and I'll shave 30 days off your jail sentence.

Women who participate are given a Nexplanon implant in their arm which prevents pregnancies for up to four years, while men are given a vasectomy.

Judge Sam Benningfield, who oversees White County, says his offer will help ex-cons get back into society without added responsibility of unplanned kids.

"I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance, when they do get out, to not be burdened with children. This gives them a chance to get on their feet and make something of themselves," Benningfield told NewsChannel5 in Nashville.

The program, which kicked off in May, is a success — with 32 women and 38 men taking advantage of it so far, according to the Nashville TV station. Those inmates who agree to take a class about the dangers of having children while using drugs get an extra two days credit.

But the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is up in arms.

"Offering a so-called 'choice' between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional," the group's executive director Hedy Weinberg said.

"Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it.

"Judges play an important role in our community — overseeing individuals' childbearing capacity should not be part of that role."

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A judge in Tennessee has made an attractive but angst-inducing offer to male and female inmates: agree to be sterilized and I'll shave 30 days off your jail sentence.
judge, prisoners, tennessee, sterilized
269
2017-12-21
Friday, 21 Jul 2017 01:12 PM
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