Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Alabama Rep Re-Introduces Bill to Castrate Sex Offenders

Ye olde castration clamps. Manufactured in England c.1700 for use on animals.

Ye olde castration clamps. Manufactured in England c.1700 for use on animals.

Alabama Rep. Steve Hurst (R-Munford) has re-introduced a bill that would legalize the castration of sex offenders over the age of 21, convicted of molesting children under 12, and make the sex offender pay for the procedure.

The bill was originally introduced for the 2013 session, but reportedly did not make it out of committee. If the proposed legislation makes it out of committee this time, and passes, such sex offenders would by law be surgically castrated before their release from prison. That is, “surgical removal of testicles” only, not the whole package.

At this time nine states have laws on the books providing for chemical or surgical castration of sex offenders: California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin. Often there are specific sex offenses that would trigger such a sentence, as well as victim age, number of offenses and depravity.

Most of these states’s laws rely heavily on the temporary effects of “chemical castration,” the administration of drugs to reduce sex drive, rather than surgical castration. Though opponents of the practice state that drug side effects make compulsory administration of these drugs inhumane.

States that offer surgical castration as an option are California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and Texas. Though the hoops offenders must jump through to get it vary widely.

The proposed Alabama legislation is unique in that, as of this writing, it does not dilly-dally with treatment programs and chemical castration, but would instead require surgical castration.

No drug side effects there.

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