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June 11, 2019

Alabama enacts chemical castration mandate for sex offenders with child victims

As reported in this local article, Alabama "Gov. Kay Ivey [yesterday] signed into law a bill to require sex offenders whose victims are younger than 13 to undergo 'chemical castration treatment' as a condition of parole." Here are the details:

The treatment consists of taking a medication to suppress or block the production of testosterone.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, and passed on May 30, the next-to-last day of the legislative session. Hurst had sponsored similar bills for more than a decade and said his intention has always been to stop sexual abuse of children.

“I’m very serious,” Hurst said.  “Not only did I want it to pass, I want to follow it on through to the future where we can try to improve it.  One of the ultimate goals that I want to do is for us to track it and to make sure what medication works for what individuals.”

Hurst said he’s heard from many victims of sexual abuse supporting the effort.  “It’s amazing how many phone calls and how many emails I’ve gotten,” Hurst said.  “People not just in the state of Alabama but all over the world, things they went through.”

Other states have passed similar laws, including California and Florida in the 1990s.

The chemical castration law says sex offenders whose victims were younger than 13 will have to take “medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”

The law requires the treatment to begin at least one month before a parolee is released.  The parolee is required to pay for the treatment unless a court determines he cannot. The Alabama Department of Public Health will administer the treatments.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the ALCU of Alabama, said the chemical castration treatment has been rarely used in other states that have authorized it through law. Marshall thinks it likely violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  “It’s not clear that this actually has any effect and whether it’s even medically proven,” Marshall said. “When the state starts experimenting on people, I think it runs afoul of the Constitution.”

Hurst said children who are victims of child abuse are affected for the rest of their lives and said those who abuse children should face lifelong consequences. "What’s more inhumane than molesting a small, infant child?' Hurst asked.

Hurst said he has been haunted by the issue since he read an account from a foster care organization about an infant child being molested.  His legislation initially called for surgical castration.

Sen Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, who handled Hurst’s bill in the Senate, said the law will apply to a small number of offenders because many who molest children won’t be considered for parole.  He believes the treatments will work for those who are.  “I think it’s a good law,” Ward said.  “I think it’s a good deterrent.”

A search of this blog's archives reveals that chemical (or physical) castration of sex offenders is often discussed, but not often utilized, in both the United States and around the world.  But there historically has been little reliable evidence as to whether this novel punishment "works" to reduce recidivism.  It will be interesting to see if this new law actually ends up being applied and well studied in Alabama, though I suspect litigation and other administrative matters may keep it from being used with regularity.

Some of many prior related posts:

June 11, 2019 at 09:21 AM | Permalink


What happens if a FEMALE offender abuses a child under 13--or does the good governor thinks it's okay for females to molest children. Is the good governor one of these misandrists who thinks that only males are capable of inflicting sexual abuse on children? Only apparently when the offender is a male is it a serious crime? What about the association with lynchings where mobs would often castrate a man before lynching him in front of a blood-thirsty crowd? Does Governor Ivey believe in lynching as her deranged relatives used to do after Reconstruction?

I don't want to pick up a newspaper one day that shows the Governor herself being charged with a horrible sex crime against a child under thirteen. It would never do to force Ivey to eat her own words.

Posted by: William Delzell | Jun 11, 2019 10:25:44 AM

What a joke. First of all, he's discussing offenses against a "small, infant child" and yet the law only applies to those with victims aged 7-13. Secondly, in another article I read, Hurst said, "My real feelings are that they need to die"...This guy is an ignorant joke and doesn't deserve an elected office. It's a shame that the "System" continually abuses their position of authority to pass broad sweeping laws that have NO EVIDENCE of effectiveness...

Posted by: Lee B. | Jun 18, 2019 2:18:06 PM

How true from where i sit he's a perverted sick individual willing to indulge in torture or Murder. Plus of course what what the heck does he think this is going to do to stop anyone who's victim was a photo and never came nesr a real person ir those caught in stings where the so-called victim is a 50 year old cop.

Sorry but sounds to me like maybe he needs a course of the same chemical before HE can breed

Posted by: Rodsmith | Jun 22, 2019 3:08:05 AM

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