One Alabama lawmaker is pushing a new surgical castration bill regarding sex offenders who victimize children in an attempt to discourage and hopefully end sexual abuse crimes against the young. The senator has long been advocating that pedophiles should be surgically castrated, and he also wants the criminals to pay for the procedure as well.
State Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Calhoun County, is the author of the HB 365 bill which would require the castration procedure for all adults convicted of sexually abusing children. The bill also specifically defines the ages of the children and adults who would qualify to be castrated under the terms of HB 365. The legislation would legally require that anyone who is over the age of 21 years and is convicted of “certain sexual offenses” against a child who is of 12 years or younger would be surgically castrated once the convicted offender is about to be released from police custody.
According to AJC, Hirst has been putting forth the bill for approval since 2011, but this year, he made the adjustment which would not only see the castration of the specified criminals, but in an additional twist, it would also have the convicted sex offender to bear the full brunt of the costs incurred during the castration.
Surgical castration involves the removal of a man’s testicles and should the bill pass, it is argued that this method would become the harshest penalty for sex offenders in the entire United States, but Hurst strongly believes this method to be the best one. It is his opinion that this is justice.
“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime.”
Even on an International level, laws regarding physical castration have not received much support and have been subjected to severe public pushback. In 2009, the Czech Republic was harshly criticized by the Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee because they were surgically castrating sex offenders. The committee referred to the practice as “invasive, irreversible and mutilating.” The same committee also requested in 2014 that Germany stops offering sexual offenders the option of surgical castration, which is only carried out at the request of the convict and is a very rare occurrence.
Hurst has faced similar critiques, with many calling his proposal inhumane. Hurst has defended himself and hopes that the bill would be a strong deterrent against the commission of said crimes, and thus, the punishment may never need to be administered.
“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 or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through. If you want to talk about inhumane–that’s inhumane. If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers.”
Nine states in the country already have variations of castration laws, but all those in existence only refer to chemically castrating the criminals. In instances of this type of castration, men are given the synthetic female hormone, Depo-Provera, and the castration process is reversed once treatment is discontinued, and this is why Hurst advocates for a more permanent solution.
Of course, as Reuters has pointed out, even surgical castration can sometimes be ineffective. The 1985 case of Wayne Dumond, who was on trial for raping a 17-year-old girl and physically castrated when unidentified masked men broke into his home and relieved him of his testicles, is a prime example. Dumond was pardoned by Arkansas’ governor Mike Huckabee and released in 1999, and a few weeks later, he raped and murdered a 39-year old woman even though his main source of testosterone had been removed. The adrenal glands can, apparently, sometimes still produce enough testosterone for a man to get an erection. Castration is also, arguably, not a solution for the emotional problems that sex offenders may have.
Despite his critics, Steve Hurst is steadfast in his belief that castration is the solution, saying in 2013 that a stronger stand against such offenses needs to be taken.
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