Alabama lawmakers pass a bill that would require pedophiles to undergo chemical castration as a condition of their parole.
The legislation was signed into law by Alabama's governor Kay Ivey. It'll apply to sex offenders convicted of crimes involving children under the age of 13.
For such offenders, chemical castration will reduce testosterone, hormones, and other chemicals that drive libido.
The parolees are required to start the treatment a month before leaving prison. It'll then continue until the court determines it's no longer necessary.
Under the law, a judge — and not a doctor — will tell the offender about the treatment's effects.
And any offender who stops receiving the treatment without approval will be guilty of a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Chemical Castration Will Hopefully Reduce The Likelihood Of Sex Offenders Repeating Their Crimes
Meanwhile, critics of the bill said the treatment is unconstitutional. They claimed that it violates a person's right to freedom from 'cruel and unusual punishment.'
Experts also warn that the treatment is not a panacea and should be used with caution. Several studies even attempt to determine the success rate of the medication.
A journal published in the NCBI shows that some studies found success in offenders who show sexual desire toward children. Other researchers found no significant effect.
Republican state Rep. Steve Hurst introduced the bill. The representative recently told CBS42 that the punishment fits the crime.
"I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said, don't you think this is inhumane? I asked them what's more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves…"
"If you want to talk about inhumane – that's inhumane. If we do something of this nature, it would deter something like this from happening again and maybe reduce the numbers."
Alabama isn't the only state to consider chemical castration for sex offenders. Seven other states also allow chemical or surgical castration for extreme sex offenders.
California passed a chemical castration bill in the '90s for repeat child sex offenders. A similar law exists in other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Montana, and Oregon.
Texas also has a chemical castration law. However, the treatment in that state can't be a condition for parole. The inmates must also request the procedure.
Michigan also used to have a law mandating chemical castration as a parole condition. However, an appeals court in 1984 ruled the treatment unlawful.