Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has signed a new bill into law that requires some sex offenders to undergo chemical castration one month before their release from custody – with offenders footing the bill for the treatment.
The new bill states that convicted offenders who were “convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13” are to be chemically castrated a month before their release. They would also be obliged to continue treatment programs “until the court determines the treatment is no longer necessary.”
Offenders will have to shell out for the procedure, however any denial in their parole can’t be based “solely” on an offenders inability to pay.
According to AL.com,
“Chemical castration is defined in the law as the receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”
Any move to halt treatment by the offender will be classed as a gross violation of parole, and the offender will resume their incarceration.
The bill was passed by both houses of the Alabama Legislature.
“This bill is a step toward protecting children in Alabama,” Ivey said.
Chemical and surgical castration is a very controversial topic around the world and is subject to some harsh refusals of acceptance. The Alabama Civil Liberties Union argue that the bill raises constitutional concerns and represents cruel and unusual punishment. This would be a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment and would also violate a citizen’s right to privacy.
Randall Marshall, the executive director of ACLU of Alabama, has also stated that the law doesn’t help in preventing child molestation.
In a statement to CNN Tuesday, Marshall said:
“It certainly presents serious issues about involuntary medical treatment, informed consent, the right to privacy, and cruel and unusual punishment. And, it is a return, if you will, to the dark age.
This kind of punishment for crimes is something that has been around throughout history, but as we’ve gotten more enlightened in criminal justice we’ve gotten away from this kind of retribution.”
Republican Rep. Steve Hurst, the original founder of the bill, has vehemently defended the law change after being accused that it was draconian and grossly inhumane.
Last week, Hurst told local outlet WIAT:
“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.
They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime.”
Castration laws are not uncommon and many states enforce them. California became the first to pass chemical castration laws back in 1996 and since then Louisiana, Montana, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, and Washington have also introduced laws that require certain sex offenders to be chemically castrated. In Texas, repeat sex offenders can volunteer to undergo surgical castration if they so choose.
Caitlin Donovan, a spokesperson for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, also criticized the law change and notes that it may lead to a lot of ethical and moral questions.
In a statement to CNN, Donovan said:
“Medical decisions should remain between a patient and their provider.
I worry about any precedent that allows the state to use health care as a form of punishment.”
What do you think? Is this an acceptable punishment? Does this breach the human rights of the offenders? Or is it karma? It’s certainly a hot topic of conversation. Let us know!