Right away Benningfield was slammed with criticism from prosecutors, health officials, and civil rights attorneys.
He's now walking back his order that would have given inmates in White County, Tennessee 30-day credits toward their sentences if they got vasectomies or birth control implants. The judge said he was trying to break the "vicious cycle” of repeat drug offenders who pass through his courtroom and can't find jobs or pay child support.
His order was in place for about 2 months, and during that time 32 women received birth control impants and 38 men signed up to get vasectomies.
Benningfield told the Times Free Press:
“I wasn’t on a crusade. I don’t have a ‘mission.’ I thought I could help a few folks, get them thinking and primarily help children.”
He released the following statement to NewsChannel 5 when 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 I had nothing to offer so rescinded the order.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."