Alabama chemical castration bill 'does not have a place in modern society', say civil right activists
After banning abortions in the state, Alabama is considering imposing chemical castration on its child sex offenders that they would have to pay for themselves. Social media was flooded with support for the bill on Wednesday after the news broke out, but passing the bill raises some serious concerns.
The American Civil Liberties Union has slammed the bill saying it is primitive. "The bill does not have a place in modern society," Randall C. Marshall, Executive Director of the ACLU Alabama told MEA World Wide.
According to the bill, a person convicted of a sex crime that involves children below 13 years of age will have to undergo the process of chemical castration, wherein they would start undergoing the process one month before their release from prison. They would receive testosterone-inhibiting medication that would be administered by the Department of Public Health.
According to the bill, that has been passed in the House, if the sex offender chooses to stop the medication while they were on parole, they would be sent back to serve out their sentence. The treatment, which is said to have some serious medical side effects, if stopped without approval, would be considered a Class C felony and punishable by law with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. This process of chemical castration does not involve removing the testes.
While many critics of the bill have called it cruel and inhumane, Marshall also pointed out that the bill is likely unconstitutional. "We do think that it likely is unconstitutional and is a cruel and unusual punishment. We would anticipate there being a legal challenge by the defendant’s attorney if a judge ordered it done," he added. According to a National Institute of Health survey, offering chemical castration as an alternative to further incarceration is often said to be partially coercive, thus rendering the offender’s consent invalid.
Experts have said that the process of chemical castration is not permanent - it only has effects as long as the person keeps receiving it. The survey also said that small, controlled studies have found that the process keeps the offender from recommitting the crime but larger studies have found no significant effect. Marshall also added that he doubts that there is medical evidence that would support that.
Marshall also argued that Alabama's neighbor, Florida has such a law and it "hardly utilizes" it.
Florida’s chemical castration statute permits sex offenders to elect physical castration and uses Depo-Provera that contains medroxyprogesterone for the process that was approved by the FDA to use for the treatment of irregular uterine bleeding, threatened miscarriage, and amenorrhea, or the absence of menstruation. It has not been approved by the FDA for the process of chemical castrations.
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