For everyone who believes the punishment should fit the crime, this story is sure to resonate with you
In Alabama, a measure has passed that would require certain child sex offenders to be chemically castrated before being released from prison.
It now heads to the governor’s desk for a disnature.
It’s known as HB 379 and was introduced by Republican state Rep. Steve Hurst. It targets child sex offenders who assault children under the age of 13, according to the legislation.
“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,” Hurst said.
It gets better. The offenders who are being castrated would have to foot the bill for it. And if they refuse to get the procedure, it would constitute a violation of parole, according to the bill.
According to Hurst, the goal is to reduce the number of sex crimes committed against children by making potential offenders think twice before they act.
“If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers,” said Hurst.
Some people argue that the bill goes too far.
“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said, ‘Don’t you think this is inhumane?’” Hurst said of the bill.
Hurst shoots that right down.
“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. If you want to talk about inhumane — that’s inhumane.”
According to Attorney Raymond Johnson, child molestation is already a serious offense punishable with prison time and probation after parole and it will be fought.
“They’re going to challenge it under the Eighth Amendment Constitution, Johnson said. “They’re going to claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has served their time.”
The bill was sent to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk over the weekend and once signed, will become law.
Several states already passed chemical castration bills.
Here’s how it works. Unlike surgical castration, where the gonads are removed through an incision in the body, chemical castration doesn’t remove any parts of the body or actually sterilize the offender.
It’s generally considered reversible when treatment is discontinued, but some studies show it can still lead to permanent effects in body chemistry such as loss of bone density.
The first use of it was in 1944, when diethylstilbestrol was used to lower men’s testosterone.
There’s an antipsychotic agent called benperidol that is sometimes used to diminish sexual urges in people who display inappropriate sexual behavior. Chemical castration is often seen as a less severe alternative to life imprisonment or the death penalty, because it’s believed to reduce or eliminate the chance they’ll reoffend.
In 1981, an experiment was done where 48 males with long-standing histories of sexually deviant behavior were given one such drug for as long as 12 months.
Of the 48, 40 were recorded as having diminished desires for deviant sexual behavior, less frequent sexual fantasies and more control over sexual urges.
The study came years after John Money became the first American to start using chemical castration back in 1966 as a treatment for a patient dealing with pedophilic urges. DMPA has since become a mainstay of chemical castration in America, yet still hasn’t been officially approved by the FDA for use as a treatment in sexual offenders.
California became the first U.S. state to specific the use of chemical castration for repeat child molesters as a condition of their parole, starting in 1996.
Florida followed in 1997, and at least seven other states, including Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin have all experimented with chemical castration.