Judge No Longer Offers Vasectomies, Birth Control In Exchange For Shorter Sentence

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jul 27, 2017

A White County judge rescinded his offer of reduced jail time in exchanged for a vasectomies and birth control.

Judge Benningfield had offered a 30-day reduction in jail time to mail inmates who got the procedure as well as female inmates who take birth control.

White County Inmates Given Reduced Jail Time If They Get Vasectomy

Benningfield rescinded the order on Wednesday for future inmates. However, Inmates who had already taken advantage of the order would be credited the 30-days.

The judge released the following comment when NewsChannel 5 asked about the order:

"I did not change my mind. The health department succumbed to the pressure and withdrew their offer of services. I had nothing to offer so rescinded the order. I bet they didn't tell that part."

ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg issued the following statement in response to the judge's decision:

"We are pleased that Judge Benningfield rescinded his unconstitutional standing order that offered a 30-day jail credit to inmates in exchange for getting vasectomies or birth control implants. The Constitution protects people’s right to choose whether and when to procreate. The judge's initial order undermined this constitutional protection because it amounted to the government coercing people not to procreate. Though the program was technically 'voluntary,' spending even a few days in jail can lead to the loss of jobs, child custody, housing and vehicles. To the individual faced with these collateral consequences of time spent behind bars, a choice between sterilization or contraception and a reduced jail sentence is not much of a choice at all. The judge's order crossed a constitutional line and we are pleased that he rescinded it."