An Agreement Whose Time Has Come
My name is Michael Flinner. I'm a 53 year old California State Prisoner with a rather straight forward purpose for this missive. Please indulge me.
Several years ago, I discovered that The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC-R) did not have a legal regulation or protocol in place whereby state prisoners (regardless of their respective commitment offenses) could legally and inducement free, donate living vital organs and tissues to their biological, matchworthy, immediate family members in need, blood relatives who might otherwise die without such a transplant. I thought to myself, "self, that needs to change".
Additional research led me to The Federal Bureau of Prisons' policies. There, I stumbled upon a well-oiled living inmate organ donation protocol which affords federal prisoners with the legal means to save an immediate family member who needs an organ and/or tissue transplant. Who knew?
With a strong proof of concept and power of intention, I struck up a handful of letters to California State Senators with a modest plan to create a Senate Bill which by all accounts was intended to be modeled after the existing Federal policy--- a protocol whose context benefits the lives of others.
After awhile I received a short reply from California State Senator Cathleen Galgiani. She decided to draft the would-be legislation, the likes of which, became SB1419. In short order, SB1419 gained ground and proved to be well-received by her colleagues, so much so, that it was favorably voted-upon through Senate Health and Public Safety Committees respectively. One we were slated to appear before the Appropriation's Committee, we were immediately met with a large CDC-R "roadblock". As it turned out, the financial minds of CDC-R simply refused to provide the negligible funds required to train state prison employees, print and disseminate comprehensive literature and educational material to the prison population, and modify their medical policies accordingly. CDC-R has demonstrated their apathetic disregard for the impact and actuality of value. Sad really.
Due to CDC-R's deliberate lack of cooperation, SB1419 was forced to scale itself back and forego certain relevant intentions. Now, California state prisoners may only make organ and tissue donations posthumously. In other words, if my adult son (whose mother has already passed) should need a kidney tomorrow, I must die in order to save his life, that, or he'll be placed on a ridiculously lengthy list of would-be recipients instead of simply getting a biological matchworthy organ from his very own father.
2.3 million Americans are incarcerated in this country, yet a tiny slice (less than 10%) of us are housed in federal custody. That means there are some 2 million men and women housed across this nation in state prison systems whom are systematically precluded from the roles of the willing. This is not okay! While countless family members of (ours) languish in-waste upon national organ donor registries, we could all be doing our part to save their precious lives.
Wherein success factors are obviously scalable, failing to adopt a national protocol where both state and federal prisoners share these inalienable rights would be profoundly irresponsible.
Because success should otherwise occur at the speed of communication, it is my hope and ultimate plan to shift the narrative a bit --- to invite fresh eyes and ears, and in the earnest, locate a new strategic legislative partner to "re-pilot" this concept, rather than accepting second best. State prisoners across this country must be included in the national life-saving conversation. I mean, why should only 10% of the nation's prison population be permitted to make living vital organ and tissue donations?
Please acquaint yourselves with my 60Minutes segment, listen to the audio project scope, and follow/retweet my struggling twitter page. I truly pray for meaningful support on several fronts to get this ball re-rolling.
Good people continue facing their respective deaths when in reality, many of them have biological matchworthy donors behind one or more of the nation's state prison walls. That's a fact!
Be Safe (and kind),
P.O. Box 2000
Vacaville, CA. 95696-2000
60Minutes Segment: bit.ly/2d0m2hs
Audio Project Scope: soundcloud.com/inmateorgans
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