Lawmakers of the state of Alabama have recently (in June 2019) enacted a law which requires child sex offenders to start the procedure of chemical castration one month prior to their release from prison.
Moreover, they would have to pay for the procedure themselves.
The Republican member of the State House of Representatives, Steve Hurst, introduced the aforementioned piece of legislation which needed to be and was signed by Governor Kay Ivey.
Furthermore, Steve Hurst has said in a statement that chemical castration for convicted child sex offenders is indeed a suitable form of punishment.
‘They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,’ Hurst told WIAT-TV.
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, opposed the measure as unconstitutional saying it was in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the constitution. The said amendment forbids any act of ‘cruel and unusual’ form of punishment on American citizens.
Moreover, other critiques include the intake of testosterone-inhibiting drugs cause serious side-effects such as clod clotting and allergic reactions.
Experts on the matter also warn that the chemical treatment is not a guarantee of the successful elimination of a man’s sexual urge. This is due to the fact that the process leaves the testes undamaged, it’s reversible and does not cause problems with reproductivity.
Nonetheless, Hurst is of the opposing opinion that:
‘I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said don’t you think this is inhumane?’ he said.
‘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 also holds the belief that chemical castration has the potential to decrease future crimes against children.
‘If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers,’ said Hurst.
Since the mid-1990s, a total of eight states have authorized the execution of the chemical or surgical castration of sex offenders. However, from a practical perspective, treatments have rarely been ordered to be carried out.
In reality, the state of California was the first to permit chemical castration with the use of medroxyprogesterone (MPA), an artificial female hormone used for the treatment of menopause.
Thus, when used by men, MPA lowers testosterone to pre-puberty levels.
In addition, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Montana, and Wisconsin also have laws allowing for the castration of sex offenders before being released from prison.
Gina Maiola, a spokeswoman for Ivey, the Governor of Alabama, said the law will apply to sex offenders who commit their crimes after Sept. 1 of the current year.
‘Chemical castration’, however, will be a required procedure only for those sex offenses which have a child under the age of 13 as a victim.
A large number of child sexual predators will have to pay for their treatment, which will be administered by the Department of Public Health. The treatment will proceed until a judge comes to the conclusion the medication is not necessary anymore.
Under the said law, not a doctor but a judge will inform the offender of the effects of the chemical treatment. However, offenders could choose at any time to stop taking the medication and, hence, return to prison to serve the remainder of their terms.
Those who stop receiving the treatment without approval are to be considered guilty of s Class C felony, which in Alabama is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.