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NC to Compensate Sterilization Victims in 20th Century Eugenics Program

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(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.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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