Tennessee Republican lawmaker's bill will require convicted child sex offenders to be chemically castrated

If passed, the law will be applicable to those offenders eligible for parole and will also force them to pay for their "treatment"


                            Tennessee Republican lawmaker's bill will require convicted child sex offenders to be chemically castrated
Rep. Bruce Griffey (Source: Tennessee General Assembly)

A Republican lawmaker from Tennessee, who in the past has sponsored several controversial legislative measures, is proposing a new law in the state that, if passed, will see those convicted of child sex offenses undergo chemical castration.

Rep. Bruce Griffey, who represents the Paris district in Tennessee, introduced House Bill 1585 last Thursday, January 2, which will require anyone convicted of sexual offenses against minors under the age of 13 to be castrated before they can be released on parole, according to the Nashville Tennessean.

The bill defines chemical castration "treatment" as receiving medication that "reduces, inhibits or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person's body."

The bill states that the castration will occur only in cases where the offender is eligible for parole and does include a provision that will allow those convicted to halt the treatment, but at a cost.

"The person may elect to stop receiving the treatment at any time and shall not be forced to receive the treatment; however, such refusal constitutes a violation of the person's parole and the person shall be immediately remanded to the custody of the department of correction for the remainder of the person's sentence," it states.

If it becomes law, it will also force the offender to pay for the "treatment," which they will have to undergo "not less than one month prior to being released" from prison.

"The person shall pay for all of the costs associated with the chemical castration treatment," it reads. "The cost of the treatment is in addition to any fines, court costs, restitution, or costs of supervision. A person may not be denied parole based solely on the person's inability to pay for the costs associated with the treatment required by this section."

It goes on to state that "a person may not be denied parole based solely on the person's inability to pay for the costs associated with the treatment. "If the bill is approved at Tennessee's State Capitol building in Nashville, it will come into effect in July 2020.

It will not be the first law of its kind, with Alabama approving a similar bill last year, and several other states, including California, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Texas, and Wisconsin also having laws that allow for the physical or chemical castration of some sex offenders.

However, none of the 19 bills Griffey introduced during the 2019 session passed. These included a bill that would ban refugee resettlement in Tennessee, a bill that required students to use bathrooms corresponding with their sex at birth, and a bill that would require students in elementary and secondary schools in the state to only play on sports teams for the gender which they were assigned at birth.

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