Alabama bill would require child sex offenders be chemically castrated
MONTGOMERY, AL — Alabama lawmakers have passed legislation mandating chemical castration for anyone who commits a sex crime against a child younger than 13. Under the bill, the procedure would take place before offenders leave prison and would be mandatory for parole. If the offender stops undergoing the procedure, their parole would be revoked.
The offender would also be forced to pay for the procedure.
The bill was introduced by state Rep. Stephen Hurst, who said he hoped it would make sex offenders think twice.
"I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said don't you think this is inhumane? 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," Hurst, a Republican, told CBS affiliate WIAT-TV.
Critics expect the bill will be challenged in courts as a violation of the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution if it is signed into law by the state's governor Kay Ivey.
California, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon and Wisconsin all have passed similar laws allowing chemical castration in some form, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas allows repeat sex offenders to voluntarily elect to be surgically castrated, the Associated Press reports.
While drugs used to diminish an offender’s sex drive can be effective, they are most successful with offenders who want to change their behavior and take them as prescribed, Frank Zimring, a law professor at University of California at Berkeley and an expert on sex crimes, told the Associated Press.
“Chemical castration is half advertising slogan, half fantasy,” Zimring said. “There are chemicals which are supposed to, if dosages are maintained, reduce sex drives.
"That isn’t castration.”