A new program has surfaced that provides less jail time for inmates willing to be sterilized so they cannot reproduce. Apparently sterilization has become an important part of inmate rehabilitation.
Inmates in White County, Tennessee have been given credit for their jail time if they voluntarily agree to have a vasectomy or birth control implant, a popular new program that is being called “unconstitutional” by the ACLU, reported News Channel 5.
In a stunning move on May 15, 2017 General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield signed a standing order that allows inmates to receive 30 days credit toward jail time if they undergo a birth control procedure.
Women who volunteer to participate in the program are given a free Nexplanon implant in their arm, the implant helps prevent pregnancies for up to four years. Men who volunteer to participate are given a vasectomy, free of charge, by the Tennessee Department of Health, according to the news channel.
County officials said that since the program began a few months ago 32 women have received the Nexplananon implant and 38 men were waiting to have the vasectomy procedure performed.
Judge Benningfield claimed he was trying to break a vicious cycle of repeat offenders who constantly come into his courtroom on drug related charges, subsequently can’t afford child support and have trouble finding jobs.
“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. This gives them a chance to get on their feet and make something of themselves,” Judge Benningfield said. “Hopefully while they’re staying here, we rehabilitate them so they never come back,.”
Many people are not as enthusiastic as the judge. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and the ACLU are speaking against the ethics and legality of it.
“Those decisions are personal in nature and I think that’s just something the court system should not encourage or mandate,” Dunaway said.
“Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director, in a statement.
“Judges play an important role in our community — overseeing individuals’ childbearing capacity should not be part of that role.”