Giving Blood for Credits II: A Positive Initiative for the 2011 Nevada Legislature Hearings

We published this initiative earlier this year, but since this is the last month to have it placed on the docket for the 2011 Nevada Legislature hearings, it is time to focus on the plan of Jeremy again:

By Jeremy Allen Crozier

It is recommended that each township in the United States of America maintains a minimum of a three (3) day blood reserve in its community blood bank for everyday use by our Nation’s medical professionals, for blood transfusions, medical emergencies, surgeries, and other related medical needs. According to the United Blood Services website (www.unitedbloodservices.org) it is estimated that sixty (60) percent of the population will need donated blood, or blood components sometime during their life times. It is further noted by the United States Government, independent study groups, foundations, and non-profit organizations such as the United Blood Services for example, that a three (3) day blood reserve in a township’s blood bank still would not be enough to meet the community’s demands, and needs during times of large scale emergencies such as natural disasters, plagues, or the unprecedented growing concern of virus, and diseases such as hepatitis, and HIV.

Unfortunately, the fact is, that cities and townships across America, and those of the Great State of Nevada on average, only are able to maintain one-half of a day’s worth of donated blood, and blood components inside of their community’s blood bank. Thus, causing wide-spread shortages in the availability of the life saving donated blood in our Nation’s hospitals, and with our emergency care providers, and it has regretfully, and painstakingly forced many health care providers, and doctors to choose between patients who will receive the much needed, and life sustaining donated blood, and those patients who will not receive it. Even despite the surreal fact, that many of the critically-ill patients who do not receive a blood transfusion, could have lived, and enjoyed a productive, and successful prolonged life, had it not been for the severe shortages of donated blood in our communities across America.

No one single source can account for the shortage of blood in our Nation’s blood reserves in America than that of a severe lack of “willing blood donors.” Blood donation is a simple procedure, which takes approximately five (5) minutes, or less, and only produces a “pinch-like” discomfort in the donor’s arm that lasts not more than a fraction of a second. Organizations and community leaders have gone to great lengths to promote, and entice potential donors to blood-A-thon type campaigns for what has amounted to half a day’s worth of blood reserve in our community blood banks on average. Incentives of money, prizes, market place discounts, employer paid days off from work, and even all expense paid vacations to lavish luxury resorts have failed to produce enough blood donors to meet even the minimum recommended requirements for our everyday medical needs.

Yet, many states in the Union have found a willing, and ready supply of blood donors in the Nation’s prisons. Inmates have proven time, and time again, that they will meet their communities’ blood supply needs in full. In return for their willing blood donations, and blood components, which save lives, the inmate blood donors are offered minimal incentives of eighteen (18) days credit per a blood donation every eight (8) weeks, which is the time needed for an individual to fully recover between blood donations.

There is no cost whatsoever to the State’s tax payers, nor to the Department of Corrections for blood donations as all the cost of the donation procedures are passed onto the patients who receive the donated blood, and their insurance companies. Furthermore, victim’s rights groups, and state tax payers have stated that they prefer this method of “Good time credits” and cost control compared to the current “Good time credit” system, which allows inmates to receive days off of their sentence for no other reason than sitting in prison, and the states increasing budget crisis. Most noted in recent years was the Nevada Legislature’s doubling of the “Good time credits” in the year of 2007, for category “C” and under felonies. This was the Nevada Legislature’s bandaid solution to their state’s depleting budget, which angered victims of crime, and victim’s rights groups everywhere. As Ashley O’Neal stated, who was also a victim of a brutal crime, “Why should inmates receive ‘Good time credits’ for sitting in prison, and committing crimes? They should be required to give back to the victims, and communities they took from during the commissions of their crimes before they receive any time off of their sentences.”

The blood taken from inmates undergoes strict scrutiny and screening at a blood center laboratory, and is then typed, labeled, stored at the proper temperature, and distributed to area hospitals to help save patients’ lives. In states such as Wisconsin for example, inmate blood donors have met what has been called a community crisis, through their willing donations of blood. In return, these inmate blood donors serve their communities, and obtain a sense of community pride, and a sense of satisfaction for meeting a nation wide medical crisis. “In Nevada, 96.7% of all inmates will be returning to townships, communities, and neighborhoods, and we must begin to ask ourselves if we as citizens in Nevada, want former inmates to return from our state’s prisons with a community connection, or who we as Nevada citizens, have completely isolated, cut-off, and otherwise excommunicated from our society for years,” stated Joe O’Neal.

The State of Nevada currently has no such programs for reconnecting inmates to their communities whatsoever, even despite common sense solutions as the “Blood for Credits” inmate blood donation program presented in this article, which is estimated to save the Nevada tax payers 420 million dollars over the next ten (10) years when compared to our hard bed prison cost per an inmate over the same time period according to the Organization Nevada Accountability. A blood donation program in our state’s prison system remains an issue for the Nevada Legislature, yet they continue to argue, and weigh the benefits of the cost of cutting measures limiting our Nevada citizens’ rights to government spent tax dollars, and none of the body of Nevada legislatures have taken up the “Blood for Credits” recommendations. A program that would not only serve our Nevada communities, but decrease our state’s budget, and prison problems, while increasing stable community programs, and awareness. Perhaps it is time for Nevada citizens to weigh in our opinions for our community leaders during the 2010 election season.

Author’s Note:

The State of Nevada, and its elected leaders, creates laws and policies for their department of corrections to solve problematic issues, which other states have experienced, and successfully solved years ago. Most intriguing is that these same elected leaders have no knowledge, nor invested interest, nor experience in the problematic issues, which they set out to solve. Even their half-hearted attempts visiting the state’s prisons are spent tucked, and hidden away by prison administration officials, and their movements are controlled as to not allow them to realize the vast deficiencies inside our state prisons. Some even search for the nearest exit, such as Hardesty of the ACAJ Steering Committee, instead of finding proper long term solutions.

The question should be of simple nature for Nevada Legislatures: Isn’t it time to demand that we look towards and adopt other states´ laws, policies, regulations and practices that have met and achieved the highest standards of scrutiny such as the Blood for Credits program? Why do they need to continue to waste tax dollars, and valuable time creating band-aid solutions, which often turn out causing more damage, tax dollars, and everyone’s time in the end? Who ever told the Nevada politicians that they have a monopoly on good ideas?

If you wish to comment on this article, contact:

Author: Jeremy Allen Crozier
#77906 / ESP
PO Box 1989
Ely, NV 89301

Or contact the following if you find this plan a good and realistic one:

Senator Steven Horsford
3450 W. Cheyenne Avenue, Suite 100
North Las Vegas, NV 89032-8223
shorsford@sen.state.nv.us

Assemblyman William Horne
2251 North Rampart Boulevard, #357
Las Vegas, NV 89128-7640
whorne@asm.state.nv.us

Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea
(Eureka, Pershing, White Pine Counties, and portions of Churchill, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, and Washoe Counties, No. 35)
PO Box 97
Eureka, NV 89316-0097
pgoicoechea@asm.state.nv.us

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