Chemical Castration


Chemical Castration Essay, Research Paper

Biological Psychology: Essay #2 “What are some arguments for and against the use of hormone treatments on sexual predators?” California became the first state in 1997 to mandate chemical castration for several classes of convicted sexual predators.Proponents for the use of hormone treatments on sexual predators give several very good arguments. First the injections of Depo-Provera are a temporary and reversible suppression of sex drive in certain kinds of sexual predators. Therefore no harm is done to the criminal. The data strongly indicates that the very low testosterone levels that Depo-Provera causes have been shown to control the sexual behavior of certain types of pedophiles (Turk p12). A very good argument for the use of California’s law since it is designed to target child molesters, however, it’s opponents would argue that such a blanket treatment would not be effective for all types of sexual predators in this category. Many sex crimes are not simply committed to satisfy sexual appetite, but are questions of violence, anger, and aggression. Criminals who do not commit these types of crimes because of libido could conceivably receive the injections with no effect on behavior (Wilson p19). Of course this does not rule out an effective use of chemical castration, if in a more limited approach. There are also some constitutional concerns to the use of chemical castration involving basic human rights. In light of the horrific nature of these kinds of crimes it may seem that no treatment is too harsh for the criminal. However the constitution and the eighth amendment in particular does not grant room for retaliatory measures. If we were to force indiscriminately weekly injections on criminals it would be a break in the eighth amendment, which protects against exactly this kind of severe random punishment (Turk p13).

Granted this is a sticky area both in that the treatment is not necessarily 100% effective in all cases and in the concerns over constitutional rights. However I think lawmakers should not throw out the concept entirely from these concerns. By the very nature of these crimes it would be foolish to check a potentially effective solution. I would like to see the use of Depo-Provera treatment in a more narrowed approach. One that would not blanket an entire subgroup of sex offenders, but instead would only be used on those who could be helped by the process. It would also be important to see the use of Depo-Provera in conjunction with rehabilitation and counseling measures. ReferencesTurk, Craig; “Kinder Cut” New Republic, 08/25/97, Vol. 217 Issue 8, p12. Wilson, Pete; “Laws of Impotence” Economist, 09/21/96, Vol. 340 Issue 7984, p18

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