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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chemical Castration for Sexual Offenders



The subject of sex offenders attracted my attention recently, when my neighbor informed me that within a ten miles radius of our residential area resides 25 registered sexual offenders. I did not believed him so I checked it in the Internet and my neighbor was right. These facts concerned me even though I have no teenager living with us. But the chance these offenders reoffend is great unless some form of restraint or punishment such as chemical castration is employed.

Are you in favor of chemical castration for Sexual Offenders? Is it ethical or morally correct? Is this form of punishment cruel and unusual? I feel this is an appropriate and effective punishment for repeat offenders. Do you agree? Here's some information on chemical castration as punishment for sexual offenders.

The first use of chemical castration occurred in 1944, when diethylstilbestrol was used with the purpose of lowering men's testosterone. Chemical castration is often seen as an easier alternative to life imprisonment or the death penalty, allowing the release of sex offenders while reducing or eliminating the chance that they reoffend.

In 1966, John Money prescribed medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA, the base ingredient now used in Depo Provera) as a treatment for a patient dealing with pedophilic urges, becoming the first American to employ chemical castration. Since then, the drug has become a mainstay of chemical castration in America. Despite its long history and established use, the drug has never been approved by the FDA for use as a treatment for sexual offenders.

In 1996, California was the first state to introduce legislation including compulsory chemical castration. The law states that sex offenders convicted of an offense against a child under the age of 13 may be treated with Depo Provera when on parole. If it is their second offense, they may not have the option to reject the treatment. This a good law in my opinion.

Florida followed suit with a similar statue in 1997 and at least seven other states – Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin – have experimented with chemical castration.

Depo Provera contains synthetic progesterone, a female sex hormone used to prevent pregnancy in women. The drug works in chemical castration by diminishing testosterone levels, leading to a decrease in sex drive and aggressive behaviors. The drug seems to have had some impressive results where it’s been used. Recidivism rates are notoriously high for sex offenders, and one study found that rates dropped from 80% recidivism for the untreated study participants to 2.4% for surgically (not chemically) castrated participants.

Treatment with serotonin inhibitors has shown some efficacy in reducing compulsive sexual behaviors, notably in diminishing unwanted or undesirable fantasies, though this is more of a pharmacological chemical augmentation than an actual castration.

The anti androgen drug cyproterone acetate is used in chemical castration in Europe. Computer scientist Alan Turing underwent chemical castration to avoid imprisonment in 1952. Turing wasn’t a sex offender; he was gay, and at the time homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain, thought of as a mental disease that could be “cured.” Turing died two years later of cyanide poisoning, which was apparently suicide.

The gay New Zealand man at the center of the Australian controversy was prescribed CPA after coming out to his church’s minister, who suggested he go on the medication to free him of the temptations of his sexuality.
Reference: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/future-sex-should-sex-offenders-be-chemically-castrated# and Wikipedia

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