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Tennessee Judge Behind Inmate Sterilization Program Rebuked

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Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-23 10:18:25-05

A Tennessee judge who offered inmates less jail time if they voluntarily underwent birth control procedures has been publicly reprimanded by state judicial regulators.

White County judge Sam Benningfield received a November 15 letter of reprimand from the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct, saying he'd acted in a way that threatened public confidence in the judicial system.

White County Inmates Given Reduced Jail Time If They Get Vasectomy

A public reprimand doesn't tangibly affect a judge's ability to work.

In May, Benningfield signed a standing order providing 30 days' credit toward jail time for men who agreed to free vasectomies and women who agreed to free Nexplanon implants. He issued another order in July rescinding the practice after backlash.

Benningfield and White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe have been named in several lawsuits as a result of the program.