Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kidney donation can't be part of the deal

The New York Times reports this morning that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will suspend the sentences of two sisters, who have already served significant time and whose sentences of life in prison are excessive.  This is good.

But check out the conditions:  one sister, Jamie, is on dialysis (read: expensive to keep in prison) and so, as a condition of the other sister, Gladys,' suspended sentence, Gladys must give Jamie a kidney.  She is, reportedly, more than willing to do so.

Willing to do so, however, is not the point -- organ donation should never be a condition for anything.

The governor seems eager to have a good news story in the wake of his recent comments about race, and one that has, as a bonus, a condition that makes him seem to be both a fiscal conservative yet not "soft on crime."

And not overly bothered by the principle of the thing.

[update:  modified title from "organ donation" to "kidney donation," for clarity]