One of the most serious problems that the United States faces is the sexual abuse of children. The problem is that the legal system is very lenient when it comes to pedophilia. Many offenders who molest children often get by on brief prison sentences and an early option for parole. Although they may have to register as a sex offender and not live near schools, playgrounds, or areas where children gather, the recidivism rates for these offenders is very high. Because of this high recidivism rate, many are calling for the inclusion of chemical castration as part of the punishment process.
Statistics on Chemical Castration
1. Chemical castration reduces the occurrences of repeat offenses from 75% to 2%.
2. Nine states in the US currently have laws that allow for some version of forced chemical castration.
3. It is unknown how frequently chemical castration is used as a punishment in the United States.
4. In the UK, a volunteer chemical castration program generated about 100 volunteers.
5. The first instance of chemical castration in South Korea occurred in May 2012 when a sex offender convicted of four counts of rape or attempted rape of young girls was sentenced to this consequence.
6. There are numerous negative side effects to chemical castration, including high levels of blood pressure, blood fat levels, and changes in cardiovascular health.
7. According to some research, though controversial, it is believed that men who are castrated either chemically or physically have a 130 times greater chance of reaching the age of 100 compared to the rest of the population.
8. In a recent survey, 40% of those who expressed a desire to have chemical castration did so so that they could be free from sexual urges.
9. The percentage of people who wanted to be castrated because of the cosmetic appearance that it would provide: 30%.
10. If chemical castration occurs in a child, the vocal cord growth is greatly diminished.
11. A 1960 study of German sex offenders who had undergone castration showed that they were still able to have sex 20 years after the procedure have been completed.
12. To avoid lifetime incarceration, at least 15 repeat sex offenders in California have asked for castration as an alternative form of punishment.
13. A German study has also showed that there is a 3% recidivism rate for castrated offenders compared to a 46% recidivism rate for non-castrated offenders.
14. Chemical castration is not a quick fix and it does not help every person.
15. If chemical castration occurs before a man loses his hair, then it can prevent male pattern baldness from occurring.
16. By the late 1900’s, most castration sentences had been removed. Florida changed that in 1997 when it approved chemical castration of sex offenders.
Advocating for Chemical Castration
One of the biggest advocates for chemical castration over the years has been a man named Joseph Frank Smith. He was a convicted child molester and underwent chemical castration in the 1980s. In 1989, Smith decided to stop using the chemical castration injections. 10 years later, he was once again convicted for child molestation by perpetrating on a five-year-old girl.
Chemical castration works by reducing the natural levels of hormones that create a sexual drive. Men whose chemical castration can still have sexual intercourse, but many choose not to want to. Because lower levels of testosterone exist, aggression is reduced and so is the desire to create sexual harm. In other words, the castrated criminal becomes more docile and it is believed that there is therefore a greater chance of having a true rehabilitation take place. Proponents believe that there is no better way for a sexual offender become a worthwhile citizen.
Is chemical castration the perfect solution to the problem that the United States and other nations face? Statistics of chemical castration show that there are certain benefits that may be achieved with the practice. The only problem is that there is a question that each one of us must ask ourselves: is it ethical to chemically castrate an offender?
Any crime that is perpetrated on a child or someone who is defenseless is a shameful act. What we must be able to do as a society is not be able to commit shameful acts in response. For nearly a century, chemical castration was considered a shameful act. That simply isn’t so today.
The research does show that recidivism rates for sexual offenders who are chemically castrated is much lower than those who are not castrated. The problem is that there is little scientific evidence to show any other benefits besides a reduction in the recidivism rates. All someone has to do is to stop taking the drugs that cause chemical castration and they will be at risk of committing another offense. This means that someone who is convicted of a sexual offense that qualifies chemical castration will be under a lifetime level of supervision that is taxpayer-funded.
The personal ethics of chemical castration is something that only each individual can decide upon. What we must be able to do is separate the vileness of the crime that occurs so that society itself can be safe for the general population. Does chemical castration provide a relief to the dangers of sex crimes that may occur? As the research has shown, sexual intercourse is still possible even though chemical castration has occurred. It is still possible even when a physical castration has occurred once a male has reached puberty. Although an offender sex drive may be reduced, it isn’t completely eliminated. If it were, then there would be a 0% recidivism rate.
Is there a viable alternative right now? Not really. Our system of sex offender registration seems to fail on a daily basis. To keep a sex offender housed in prison after they have served their sentence has its own set of constitutional considerations that may be a violation of that person’s rights. So what can we do? That’s a question that we must all be able to come together and answer so that justice can be served and we can have the safe society where people can thrive and grow in their own way.