Alabama’s state legislature passed a bill Tuesday that will require convicted child sex offenders to undergo chemical castration prior to their release, raising questions about the legality and ethics of castration.
According to the legislation, known as House Bill 379, a person convicted of a sexual offense involving anyone under the age of 13 will be required, as a condition of parole, “to undergo chemical castration treatment in addition to any other penalty or condition prescribed by law.”
The person will be obligated to pay for the cost of treatment, and a refusal to be castrated would be considered a parole violation, the legislation reads. The bill now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for signature.
Janice Bellucci, executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws, which advocates for the civil rights of people convicted of sex crimes and their families, agreed, describing chemical castration as “barbaric and ineffective.”
“It seems to be what some people would call Old Testament justice and you talk about an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ or a ‘tooth-for-a-tooth,’ ” she said. “There are many treatment options that could be effective and you certainly would think the state would spend their resources providing treatment to people who have made such a grievous mistake and who have harmed a child, but chemical castration is not treatment. It’s punishment.”