Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just for the record, if anyone hears me say, "I'd give my right arm" for something, I'm speaking figuratively.
But prison inmates in South Carolina better be careful about saying, "I'd give my right kidney to get out of here," because the state just may take them up on it, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
Actually, it's just a proposed bill before the state Senate at the moment. But how much freedom is a kidney, or bone marrow, worth? A month? Three months? Inmates could get up to six months off a sentence for their "generosity" under the bill.
On the other hand, the idea of the state offering a benefit for a prisoner giving up a body part, "violates every ethical value I'm aware of," says Lawrence Gostin, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
Meanwhile, legislators will not debate the measure until they figure out whether exchanging prison time for body parts violates federal law. That probably would be good to know.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.