LAWMAKERS in the US state of Alabama have passed a bill forcing paedophiles to undergo chemical castration before being released.
The new laws would require anyone convicted of a sex offence of a person under the age of 13 to begin treatment at least a month beforehand and continue until the court says it’s “no longer necessary”.
1 Lawmakers in Alabama have passed a bill forcing paedophiles to undergo chemical castrationCredit: Alabama Department of Corrections
Under the proposals, paedophiles would have to pay for their own castration and would have to return to jail if they didn’t continue their treatment.
The bill, known as HB 379, requires state governor Kay Ivey’s signature before it can become law.EIGHTH AMENDMENT
If it goes through, Alabama would become the ninth state in the US to permit some form of chemical or surgical castration of sex offenders since the mid 1990s.
It’s likely to draw fierce opposition from civil libertarians, opposing as it does the Eight Amendment, which bars “cruel and unusual punishment”.
Steve Hurst, a Republican lawmaker from Calhoun County, believes it’s an appropriate punishment.
“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,” Hurst told WIAT-TV.
“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said don’t you think this is inhumane?” he said.
They’re going to claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has served their time and for the rest of their life have to be castratedAlabama lawyer Raymond Johnson
“I asked them what’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through.”
California was the first US state to allow chemical castration for child molesters in 1996, followed by Florida the next year.
At least seven other states – Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon and Montana – have used chemical castration at some point.
California, Florida, and Louisiana give sex offenders the option of chemical or surgical castration, which is the physical removal of testicles.
What is chemical castration?The bill defines chemical castration as ‘the receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body’.
A number of drugs can be used to achieve it but the most common is Leuprolide, also known by its brand name Lupron. This is often prescribed to prostate cancer patients as it can help to slow down the growth and spread of cancer.
Chemical castration is generally considered reversible when treatment is discontinued, although it can have permanent negative side-effects including risk of cardiovascular disease.
Drugs used for castration can reduce libido and capacity for sexual arousal.
Alan Turing was famously subjected to chemical castration to ‘cure’ his homosexuality in 1952, and committed suicide two years later.
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Speaking to WIAT-TV this week, Alabama lawyer Raymond Johnson, said he thought the legislation would be challenged if passed.
“They’re going to claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has served their time and for the rest of their life have to be castrated,” he said.
This bill comes less than a month after Alabama banned abortion in cases of rape or incest.
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