January 3, 2020
Tennessee Lawmaker Bruce Griffey Files Bill To Chemically Castrate Convicted Sex Offenders

A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require anyone convicted of a sexual offense against a child under the age of 13 to be chemically castrated, The Tennesseean reports.

Bruce Griffey, a Republican from the rural community of Paris, introduced the bill which, should it be passed, would become effective in July.

Under the language of the bill, which is nearly identical to that of a similar law approved last year in Alabama, those sentenced for the crime would undergo a chemical injection that "reduces, inhibits or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person's body." If the person refuses, he would be considered to be in violation of his parole and would be "immediately remanded to the custody of the department of correction for the remainder of the person's sentence," the bill states.

Further, the condemned would be required to pay for the "treatments" himself.

Theoretically, according to The Sun, chemical castration would decrease the sexual urges of the person receiving the "treatment," reducing the chances of them offending again. In such cases, the offender is given a drug, such as Leuprorelin, which has been used to treat difficulties in controlling sexual arousal, intrusive sexual fantasies, sadism or other "dangerous" tendencies. Side effects can include osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, depression, hot flashes and anemia.

Reports from Sweden and Denmark suggest that the process can cut re-offending rates from 40 percent to five percent.

However, Amnesty International called the process "cruel" in a report aimed at encouraging Indonesia to put an end to the forced chemical castration of men convicted of certain sexual offenses.

"By adopting these amendments the Indonesian government is undermining the basic right to physical and mental integrity, in particular the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," the organization notes.

Similarly, as Rolling Stone reported when covering the Alabama law, the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the law could violate the Constitution's Eighth Amendment, which protects against "cruel and unusual punishment."

Similarly, Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that the intended outcome of such laws -- inhibiting the offenders' sexual desires and preventing him from offending again -- only work in a "small percentage" of offenders who commit sexual crimes against children.

As for the man who introduce the Tennessee bill, Bruce Griffey, he's developed something of a reputation in the legislature for introducing bills that The Tennessean describes as "controversial," such as banning refugee resettlement in Tennessee and requiring public school students to use bathrooms that correspond with their sex at birth. None of the bills he's introduced have passed.