Friday, June 20, 2008

Twenty Years or a Kidney

Picture this, a society where crime is tolerated so long as the criminal is healthy and disease-free. Recompense for wrongdoing is no longer limited to financial penalties or serving time, no, in this society a criminal can fulfill his/her debt by donating blood or maybe even a kidney. As sociologists establish the linkage between crime and socioeconomic levels, this hypothetical society seems to create a type of caste system wherein the wealthy are benefitted by the health of criminal offenders. The thought evokes in me something akin to Huxley’s A Brave New World or, more recently, The Island. Though no kidneys have been accepted in lieu of prison sentences yet, it is possible that we are not far from it.

According to the Associated Press, Cuyahoga County, Ohio has initiated a program allowing juvenile offenders to donate blood to fulfill their community service obligations. The teens must be at least seventeen and the substitution is allowed only for low-level crimes. If a teen is unable to donate due to medical reasons, the teen can instead volunteer at a blood drive or take a CPR class. The idea sounds noble enough, but is this one step down the proverbial slippery-slope? (I know it is perhaps disfavored to view all remedies in light of worst-case scenario outcomes, but isn’t that part of being a good lawyer?) Personally, I think volunteering at a blood drive is community service and sounds like a wonderful option. The donating blood part, though, well, that might be just one step too far.

1 comment:

Alison M. Kilmartin said...

I grew up in Cuyahoga County! It kind of sounds like Geauga County, that famous place where the great Zacchini was shot out of a cannon at the local fair.