News and Commentary

Alabama Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Chemical Castration For Child Sex Offenders

On Tuesday, Alabama legislators passed a bill that would punish child sex offenders by requiring them to be chemically castrated before they are released from prison. HB 379 was introduced by GOP Rep. Steve Hurst, who told WIAT-TV:

They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime … 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.

He added, “If we do something of this nature, it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers.”

The Daily Mail notes, “Since the mid 1990s, eight states have permitted some form of either chemical or surgical castration of sex offenders, though in practice courts have rarely ordered the treatments to be carried out. California was the first state to allow chemical castration for certain sex offenders who would be required to receive medroxyprogesterone (MPA), an artificial female hormone used to treat symptoms of menopause.”

HB 379 states:

Under existing law, certain criminal offenses are classified as sex offenses. A conviction for a sex offense against a person under the age of 12 years is a sex offense involving a child. Under existing law, a person convicted of a sex offense involving a child which constitutes a Class A or B felony is not eligible for parole.

This bill would provide that a person convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13 years who is eligible for parole, as a condition of parole, shall be required to undergo chemical castration treatment in addition to any other penalty or condition prescribed by law.

It adds, “This bill would also provide that if a person is ordered to undergo chemical castration treatment as a condition of parole and the person refuses to undergo the treatment, his or her refusal would constitute a violation of parole and would result in the person being remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections. … A person may not be denied parole based solely on his or her inability to pay for the costs associated with the treatment required under this act.”

KADN reported that State Rep. Juandalynn Givan said, “You have to deal with the mind of a predator. You don’t worry about the physical body parts. You have to deal with makes them do what they do.” State Rep. Allen Treadaway echoed, “Any action that we can take against a child molester that would prevent them from ever committing this type of crime again, I support, including chemical castration. I think this bill is one of those steps to ensure public safety.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey must sign the bill for it to become law.

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