The term “castration” brings a chill to every man. The idea of having your ‘junk’ cut off is horrifying. It’s barbaric. Castration is like the archaic practice of locking someone in stocks or something that would be seen in a third world country, but not the United States But it’s not. It is used in our modern world, including America. Not only do many other countries have castration laws, but several of our states do as well. Even as recent as last year, states have been approving the chemical castration of sexual predators. But what is chemical castration and how does it work?
Typically, when people think of castration, they are thinking about surgical castration, or orchiectomy. This method of castration involves the removal of men’s testicles, which produce 95% of testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the male sex drive, so what chemical castration aims to do is lower testosterone through the use of antiandrogen drugs. This has a similar effect to what some birth control pills have on women.
Even in places where castration is common, it is not used on everyone. The difference between sex offenders and sexual predators is actually quite significant. In a general sense, sex offenders are more nonviolent. A sex offender might be someone who has been arrested for indecent exposure or even child pornography. Meanwhile, a sexual predator is usually someone who has committed some violent act and is highly likely to commit the same or similar act in the future. Sexual predators are more likely to be the ones to receive castration.
Chemical castration is not permanent. It leaves the treated party with no permanent damage. This means that after the individual stops treatment, or if they discontinue treatment against legal or doctor orders, then they are highly likely to reoffend.
States vary in their implementation of chemical castration. The first state to implement a chemical castration bill was California in 1996. The California law originally applied only to repeat offenders. In Florida and Alabama, if a sexual predator is ordered to undergo chemical castration and refuses, it could result in a secondary felony charge. The treatment for chemical castration costs about $1,000 a month and it is the responsibility of the offender to pay.