Surgical castration involves physically removing the testes, where 95% of the body's testosterone is produced. A German studied showed a 3% repeat offense rate for castrated offenders versus 46% for non-castrated offenders. (Which we all know how difficult it is to catch sexual offenders in the first place, so those rates are most likely much higher for repeat offenders.) It also begs the question - if at least 46% of offenders were re-offending, jail time does not effectively curb their desire to abuse - as we all know. The founder of the sexual disorders clinic at Johns Hopkins University, Fred Berlin, has suggested that castration will only help in situations where the offender was motivated by their sex drive - versus those who abused for other reasons: lack of conscience, abusing drugs or alcohol, or to exploit for monetary gain.
Amnesty International calls the practice "inhumane" and released a statement regarding the country of Moldova legalizing the practice, in which they declare, "At first sight, forced chemical castration could be taken as a matter-of-course decision; however, it is incompatible with human rights, which are the foundation of any civilized democratic society. " The surgery can also produce negative side effects such as: osteoporosis, increased blood fat & blood pressure, negatively effecting the cardiovascular health. It has been used in other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Israel and Argentina.
At least nine U.S. states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin have versions of chemical castration in their laws. In other states: Illinois, Ohio, and Arkansas repeat convicted offenders have requested the surgery as a way to bargain for a reduced sentence.
Republican Rep Steve Hurst, who proposes castration in Alabama, states: “I know I have people that say that this is inhumane,” he said. “The way I look at this is — what is inhumane is to molest a child, especially an infant. That’s inhumane.”
So what is the answer? And should it include castration?
In California, there is the Coalinga Sex Offender Treatment Program where the worst offenders are sent after serving their prison time and cannot be released until they willingly submit to treatment and are determined to no longer be a threat to society. A mere few have been released and with treatment being optional, many offenders live comfortably at the expense of tax-payers.
"The remote Coalinga facility, which opened in August 2005 at a cost of $388 million, still has about 600 unused beds. The cost of confinement there is $185,000 a year per person — almost four times as expensive as prison." — John Gibbins / UNION-TRIBUNE
It is expensive to attempt treatment for offenders, it is expensive to keep them in jail. People would argue the death penalty should be mandatory, but that will also prove expensive and drawn out through the appeals process.
Hey, here's an idea - what if we spend some money on researching how to stop sexual predators from developing in the first place?
Since 40% of those that sexually abuse children are also minors themselves, and research has shown that with treatment, minor offenders are much more likely to be rehabilitated- that we may actually be able to make a positive, cost-saving contribution to the solution for whole problem by attacking it at the root instead of allowing this crime against humanity to continue to grow like a weed?
Hell, what if we educated and raised our children in a way that we didn't have to wait until they sexually abused another person and needed to be rehabilitated?
Time and time again, leading authorities in the fight against sexual abuse promote that awareness and education are the key to protecting children and reducing the rate of offenses. If we are going to be serious about wanting to end child sexual abuse, then we need to seriously invest in prevention education & policies that reduce opportunity - rather than the billions in treatment & lost productivity for victims and trying to track down, convict, and house offenders.
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