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A Tennessee judge is offering reduced jail time to men and women who appear before him in court. And all they have to do to earn that break is “volunteer” to be put on a contraceptive or sterilized.

In May, Judge Sam Benningfield signed an order to allow individuals held in the White County jail to receive 30 days off their time if they undergo a birth control procedure. County officials say that 32 women have received birth control implants so far and 38 men are waiting to have vasectomies performed.

Under no circumstances should the courts use their power to shape the reproductive decisions of individuals. But sadly, for over a century, attitudes about individuals convicted of crimes have made incarcerated men and women targets of such efforts.

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The Marshall Project

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