AP Photo/Eric Gay
Inmates in Tennessee can get up to 30 days cut from their jail time — on the condition that they agree to get a vasectomy or a birth control implant.
A county in rural Tennessee started a program that offers inmates who get a vasectomy or insert a contraceptive device into their body with a reduced jail time sentence, NewsChannel 5 reports.
The program has been called into question both by local district attorneys and the ACLU.
” Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional,” the civil rights organization said in a statement.
White County jails have been offering this option to inmates since May 15, when General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield signed an order offering those who agree up to 30 days cut off their sentence. Already, 32 women have received the implant while 38 men are waiting to get their vasectomies done.
In an interview with the NewsChannel 5 TV station, Benningfield said that the order was meant to discourage those with drug offenses and extensive criminal records from conceiving children they cannot support.
“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 said.
But District Attorney Bryant Dunaway said that offering such rewards for people to limit their ability to have children was unethical and perhaps even 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.