(RALEIGH, N.C.) — North Carolina will become the first state to compensate victims of a mass sterilization program that targeted poor minorities in a 20th century eugenics program, offering a $50,000 a person.
In a vote on Tuesday, the Eugenics Compensation Task Force recommended the lump-sum amount, putting a three-year statute of limitations on claiming those funds.
The task force also established a pool to fund mental health services for sterilization victims.
The state has located 72 such victims, according to Jill Lucas, communications director for the North Carolina Department of Administration.
A final report on Tuesday’s recommendations will be given to Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue to consider. She will pass along her recommendations to the Generally Assembly, which will make a final decision about compensation.
Some lawmakers had urged as much as $1 million for each victim.
“The state recognizes that a wrong has been done and while these actions can never be reversed, the governor has made it a priority to reach out and help identify and compensate victims for their experience,” said Lucas.
The state sterilized more than 7,600 people in North Carolina from 1929 to 1974 — one of many other states in misguided attempts to weed out criminals and the mentally disabled.
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