“They need to be marked for life”

By Sandy . . . The mandatory chemical castration law that has just passed in Alabama is being debated every way possible. Health professionals are weighing in on why, medically, it is not an effective prevention strategy. From a moral and human rights perspective, the general consensus is that it is barbaric and reminiscent of our nation’s earlier and darker forays into eugenics.

Both of those arguments are valid, but the primary reason it is doomed to fail at having any significant impact on reducing child sexual assault is the same reason that other attempts such as residency restrictions and “child-safe zones” fail. It is the same reason that the registry itself is a dismal failure.

The registry, those laws, and this new attempt – its questionable efficacy aside — have failed and will continue to fail because they are targeting the wrong population.

Prior to the passage of Alabama’s law, nine other states have or have had laws allowing for the use of chemical castration in some shape or form.

California and Florida are cited as being states that, like Alabama, mandate its use. The language in California law, Section 645 (1996) states that with a victim under thirteen, the injections “may” be requested by an offender after the first offense, and that after a second like offense, he “shall undergo” the treatment.

Florida’s statute 794.0235 (1997) likewise says it may be requested after a first conviction of any form of sexual battery (794.011) and “shall” be used after a second offense. Unlike California, Florida does not attach an age limit to the prerequisite.

Louisiana’s law (14:43.6) reads very similar to that of Florida with the exception of specifying a victim age of less than thirteen.

501.061, Texas Penal Code, allows the procedure upon request after the 2nd offense of a child under fourteen and has a laundry list of conditions that must be met by anyone requesting it. According to information from Texas Voices, it is virtually never used.

Wisconsin’s NARSOL state contact reports that while statute 302.11(1)(b)2 states it may be a requirement of the DOC or Parole under certain circumstances, DOC says the controversial treatment is currently offered but never required.

Iowa has language in its laws that allow its usage under certain circumstances, and Georgia and Oregon have allowed the practice in the past if not currently.

Alabama’s requirement is that all those whose victim was a child under 13 receive the very costly treatment as a condition of release after a first offense and that the cost is borne by the offender, making the Alabama law more stringent than any of the others.

There is some evidence that as part of a complete treatment program which includes psychotherapy and extensive follow up, some recipients of the medication will benefit to some degree. However, offenders who have clear pedophilic tendencies that have resisted other therapies and their own desires to stop are few. Repeat instances of sexual assault on children after an initial conviction and punishment are rare.

For any statistically significant reduction in child sexual assault, just as with other laws, restrictions, and the registry itself, chemical castration is not the answer. Virtually all sexual abuse of children is committed by persons who have no previous sexual assault convictions, persons who are not on the registry, persons who will not be receiving the treatment even if they live in Alabama. They are persons who are intimately connected with their victims in their everyday lives. They are the family members, the peers, and the authority figures of the children they victimize.

The vast majority of them do not have pedophilia. The vast majority of them, once charged, convicted, and confronting the responsibility for what they have done, will never reoffend.

Yet, for those who are convicted, they will be forced to undergo a foreign substance being put into their bodies and their bloodstream, a substance that has well-known and quantifiable negative side effects. It will not protect children. It will not lower the rate at which children are sexually abused.

Republican State Representative Steve Hurst, the sponsor of this bill who has been trying to get it passed for fifteen years, had this to say at its passage: “I’d prefer it be surgical, because the way I look at it, if they’re going to mark these children for life, they need to be marked for life.”

That doesn’t sound like concern for children and a desire for prevention. That sounds like revenge.

And maybe that is the point.

Reprinted 6/14 at Criminal Legal News

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

This topic contains 30 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Noel Brown 2 days, 15 hours ago.

  • Author
  • #56738 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek

    By Sandy . . . The mandatory chemical castration law that has just passed in Alabama is being debated every way possible. Health professionals are wei
    [See the full post at: “They need to be marked for life”]

  • #56739 Reply

    Why is it that our society would stoop to such barbaric measures? SO are punished on a daily basis for years. It’s so heartbreaking that it is the only crime that is treated so harshly and so easy to be put on it for reasons that are just ridiculous. My God, someone can take the life of another human being and get less time and ridicule than a SO. I pray for all on the registry to one day be treated as a human being that they are.

    • #56765 Reply

      You stated that “someone can take the life of another human being and get less time and ridicule than a SO” and this is a strong statement but I would like to add that you could take the life of a child or beat them near death and yet get less restrictions placed on you after release. If someone strikes a child violently, are we going to remove their arms upon release?

    • #56808 Reply
      Sally L Zuber

      You are right; a murderer often serves less jail time than a sex offender. Do communities have a map pinpointing where released murders reside? No.

  • #56740 Reply

    I think it’s time we castrate Alabama.
    I can’t even believe how this is constitutional.

  • #56741 Reply

    From experience it comes strongly ” recommend ” to some from DOC therapist. They talk from both sides of their mouth!
    A. Sexual aggressiveness is about POWER and not sex.
    B. Sexual diminishing drugs will impact need for POWER.
    Obscured thinking for sure.

  • #56742 Reply

    If this law is upheld we might as well give up any pretense of being an advanced country and change out name to Iran West.

  • #56744 Reply

    So, the logic goes, if one is hurt, let’s double that. Do we really need to double the amount of damaged people in this world? Look, people commit crimes for which death is a punishment. They know that going in. If people STILL commit these crimes, how is this going to be more effective than death? Once again, revenge and our human need to exact it upon others seems to be the driver here more than justice.

  • #56746 Reply

    Tyranny has long been an established form of government in the state of Alabama, and shall likely continue for generations to come. A study of where Alabama ranks nationwide in quality of life, and virtually every other measurable aspect gives a clear picture of the generational effects of such a collective mindset.

  • #56747 Reply

    Another huge reason this and the whole registry scheme is an utter failure is that none of these laws stop anyone (on the registry or not) from doing harm to children if they are hellbent on doing so. Meanwhile, those on the registry who get arrested for registry violations premise, social media (if on probation), FTR, failure to submit online identifiers, failure to register their car, and so on. They almost always have no ulterior motive and certainly are not trying to “hide” to commit more sex crimes. If anything they are trying to just trying to live a normal life….what a novel idea!

    As a side note at some point I want to start pulling public records in my county or state for FTR going back several years and use the public records to get a percentage of how many FTR`s lead to a conviction on a new sex charges. I would bet quite a bit that the percentage is in the low single digits. I also feel that aquiring this data could be very useful in sone upcoming court cases.

    • #56756 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek

      That is a super idea. Studies have already been done on a much larger scale showing that persons on the registry who are non-compliant to any degree, up to and including going completely off the radar, do not re-offend at any significantly higher rate and are at no greater risk to re-offend than those who remain totally compliant. The only thing that failure to comply or failure to register offenses predict are future instances of failure to comply or register. This is one: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07418820902972399
      Doing an informal study at the local level and having that data, which I am sure will support the broader ones, would be good.

    • #56774 Reply

      Brilliant this needs to happen in every state! FTR stats are the proof we need.

  • #56758 Reply

    If they surgically castrated Republican State Representative Steve Hurst I doubt that there would be anything left of him! 🙂

  • #56761 Reply
    James Coghill

    Humorless people like these scare the hell out of me. But I’ve developed a few therapies of my own. I’ve learned to appreciate the preposterousness of any profundity. And in my distress, I am able to find the smallest, most absurd details. As if God were looking down, winking at me, and letting me in on the joke. So feel free to use your genital mutilation procedures, if that’s what you think it takes to make you feel safe. In a short time you will find the folly of your actions and you too will have to pay for your actions. But please allow me to wallow in my own misery in peace. And if I should look up from my “downbeat abyss” and find you people to be FOOLS, that’s no right for you to commit upon me a foolish act!

    I reject the idea that nobody overcomes sexual abuse. I reject the idea they have been “marked forever.” It’s a plea to peoples emotions with the intent of controlling their minds based on false assumptions and not backed by any science I have ever studied. It’s a dirty trick used by dirty people to control the American public. The only thing a person can’t overcome is DEATH.

    • #56881 Reply

      I totally agree. The only reason anyone can’t get over sexual abuse is because someone in their life keeps reminding them of it every day. Let it go and maybe then the person who was sexually abused will be able to overcome what happened and move on with their lives.

  • #56762 Reply

    I must share these feelings. I am sorry if they are counter-productive.
    The majority of legislators of this country have codified “Jim Crow” and targeted eugenics, and the judicial have almost consistently upheld these barbarities.
    Militarism may be futile, but, BY GOD (!) they are performing CASTRATIONS!!
    Militarism (intifada-style or weaponistic) may be our only chance to stem this tide!
    Maybe I sound melodramatic?
    They are LEGALLY CASTRATING people!!!!!
    Rise up!!! For GOD’s sake…RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • #56763 Reply

    I think they are undermining their own criminal-regime against sex offenses. If it is medical then it can’t be criminal. No? Not medical? Then if it is criminal then you can’t treat it medically. Make up your mind people!

    Legal advocates/defenders for offense reform should use this and other such laws as evidence of admission that the Govt knows that such crimes are committed due to medical defect. The law is clear in not allowing govt to play both sides of this issue (e.g. murder by reason of insanity). In a dream scenario it could be used by defense attys to advocate treatment and dismiss criminal charges. In a more likely scenario the government will retract such mandatory medical treatments and make them “voluntary” so they can have their cake and eat it too.

  • #56764 Reply
    James Coghill

    I just had to say more about this because there is an aspect of this that our idiot law makers never considered. Anybody who knows anything about animals knows that if you neuter them too young they develop tumors and die an early death from cancer because the lack of sex hormones causes cancer. Let me tell you, it happens in people too and with humans it doesn’t matter what age you are. Is the state of Alabama going to pay for my medical bills to treat the cancer they caused that will kill me? Alabama lawmakers are so STUPID they don’t realize they have set themselves up for decades of lawsuits over this. The harm they are doing far outweighs any benefit no matter how good it might look. But by all means carry on your present course and when it comes around to bite you in the ass I will LAUGH at you.

  • #56771 Reply
    Derek Logue of OnceFallen.com

    Good info, and I used some of it to update my own site.

    Montana also has a castration state.

    Oregon’s law seems to have been a pilot program that has now expired. Georgia’s castration bill was repealed in 2006.

  • #56773 Reply

    I feel pity for those tasked with coming to castrate me should my state make this foolish decision.

  • #56781 Reply

    We already ARE marked for life, you piece of s**t legislator! The registry already does that, and it’s one of the reasons it’s unconstitutional; traditional punishments, like public shaming (i.e., the Scarlet Letter) ARE punishment; it is therefore an Eighth Amendment violation for being cruel & unusual, as well as a Fifth Amendment violation for being double jeopardy.

    Instead of this abusive, cruel, and unconstitutional knee-jerk reaction to sex offenses, we need to act with compassion and help both the victim AND the offender, plus look to help prevent those who are ACTUALLY committing the crimes (those close to the children) to stop before they act.

    ‘Nuff said. Sorry for the soap box rant; this whole thing makes me p****d as hell.

    Sign me as “Mark D. For life.”

  • #56788 Reply
    James Coghill

    The more you think about something the more you see it from different angles. Nothing happens without first someone wanting it. It is a given fact that this law will become law suit fodder for decades. I’m shocked it isn’t national news already. So the trillion dollar question is who wants more laws suits? A law like this, written by lawyers, only serves to increase the size of their bank accounts for decades to come. If that isn’t a conspiracy I don’t know what is. And that’s what this is really about.

    • #56845 Reply
      Sharon Long

      I have read a lot of the comments here and cannot think of one statement that I would disagree with. My son is on the register for life because he looked at some pictures on line. He never knew anyone of the people involved, never spoke to any of them, did not participate in making the pictures or anything else. He just looked at some pictures the FBI already knew were online. My son was convicted of a “No Contact” crime, sentenced to prison for 8 1/2 years, 15 years on parole and a lifetime on the register. He also has been ordered to participate in classes for sex offenders and will be required to continue these sessions for the entire 15 years he is on the register. I really would love to hear from some of these so-called professional sex therapists as to why people like my son are required to go to these sessions for 15 years when the very same professionals have stated time and again that “there is no cure for sex offenders.” The U.S. government must pay for these sessions if the SO does not have funds to pay for them. So who is actually benefitting from this? It certainly isn’t the SO that “cannot be cured” but must continue with this so-called therapy.
      My son has never been in trouble with the law, not even a speeding ticket in over 25 years. He has an honorable discharge from the U. S. Marine Corp with a 40% service connected disability. Yet because he made one stupid mistake, he is going to pay for it the rest of his life. Who sees this as punishment? To me this is revenge, not punishment.
      As another person stated: Even people who have committed murder are less monitored after release from prison, they are not mandated to sign into a registry, they are not restricted on where they can live, the type of employment they are allowed to engage in, the distance that they must keep from a child’s playground, etc……….So why are the SO’s branded so harshly?
      Also, one more question on my mind. Whose idiotic brain child was it to notify the victims of these pictures every time someone comes across them and looks at them? Does it not occur to the morons who made this a law, that each time a person is notified that someone saw their picture, that it just traumatizes them over and over again? The sorry excuse that the victim can then demand payment of some sort from the SO is going to make them feel better makes absolutely no sense. If I were a victim of child pornography I would not want to be reminded over and over again. All that does is put the victim in therapy for longer or start over again because they are being traumatized again by being reminded of what happened to them – as if they need being reminded. It just all brings things to mind of how completely out of control these laws are – and for what? Mostly it is so the person bringing it into another law is doing so for ulterior motives, i.e. they are running for office or running for re-election and making it known they are “tough on crime.” The media then jumps on it and it’s like a wild fire – out of control and hard to stop.

      • #56854 Reply

        Hi Sharon, James has a strong point. There is money that drives much of this. But, so does ‘a priori’ beliefs-a preconceived belief that drives thought, rather than evidence. (Loose interpretation). He’s my answer to two of your points. I am a counselor, as well as a registered citizen. I do NOT offer sex offender specific treatment. And if I did, I’d never get any work anyway because ethically, I cannot condone the typical state mandated methodology for such treatment. Having been through it, I know it’s more than just flawed, it’s completely unethical and not even close to evidence based.
        As I’ve commented before, the term “cannot be cured” is another of those clever terms constructed to decieve the public. Cure is for disease, not behavior. The proper term would be extinguish or correct unwanted behavior. We all know that this is totally possible, because we’ve all done it to some degree. But cure? Some diseases can’t be cured. So we accept those “doctors” who tell us a cure is not possible. They know they are not being truthful, but ignore the illogic and sing from the same song book.
        Second, to retraumatize someone is unethical, yet done all the time in the guise of “exposure” therapy. But that is not how to treat trauma safely. Bad training and poor education has prevailed way too long.
        The “accepted” form of sex offender treatment predominately used still today is a product of old school hard core feminist reaction to rape-culture thinking which place males into a hated group of uncontrolled monsters. While I agree rape is an egregious act which incorporates power, control, and narcissistic rage, it is not neccisarily present in other sex crimes. Shaming and vengeance was thought to be the treatment for sex crimes because it was beleived that victims would regain their own power through vengeance. So the therapy that evolved based itself in such nonsense. Research has shown that such vengeance based practices does nothing to relive suffering or restore victims. More to the point, fanning the flea of hatred keeps the trauma alive and active for he victim, requiring a lifetime of therapy.
        Trauma is best treated through a dual-process of emotional acknowledgement and coping, with a second focus on the future, self-empowerment, and leaving the past behind as a memory versus an active trauma.
        But then, if offenders could stop behaving badly through a recovery program, and victims could move on and enjoy a life who would the shysters have to treat for 40 sessions per year into perpetuity?
        Just saying, it’s more politically and financially motivated than James suggested. That’s why my counseling for sex offenders is free! No strings, no states! I too am a doctor, and I know my stuff well, but I’m not one the State has control over, Charlie

  • #56790 Reply
    The Criminalized Man

    Well said, David, and James Coghill. This 15-year state rep may be seeking revenge, but I think this is mainly a political charade. Bills like this happen because any thinking legislator who votes against them can be targeted by cheap attack ads when re-election season comes around.

  • #56796 Reply

    This chemical castration is so off the wall and a bit on the vainglory side or even a foolish principal of governments demented mind. While protecting and serving don’t seem good enough now they want to chemically castrate someone. How unbiblical.

    I hope someone took penology in collage. While prison is bad enough in some of these ordeals that we face this is a bit much. Talk about gun control and Roaman gladiators. Government appears to wants to compound things and at the same time those in authority seem to be above the supreme authority. Doesn’t sound scripturally sound to me. I’m sure NARSOL and the other advocate’s should jump on this and even let the media in general know.

    Now this article would make any parent upset. Sure in some cases a bit of punishment isn’t so bad but when they want to go overboard than who’s shafting who. There is only one true authority.

  • #56824 Reply
    Carol Salacka

    I cannot fathom how legislators sworn to uphold the Constitution fail to do so when it comes to those required to register. They have created a prohibited special population. My State Senator Katie Muth just posted her happiness at PA now requiring registrants to wait THREE years to seek parole if they do not make it the first time. PA, with the 2nd highest US rate of incarceration, probation and parole is looking at reducing this problem for others, but not for registrants. Some of the comments were awful. I provided some facts.

  • #56823 Reply

    “I’d prefer it be surgical, because the way I look at it, if they’re going to mark these children for life, they need to be marked for life.”

    Does this not count as a statement of legislative intent that this be punishment instead of for safety and therefor illegal under the constitution? It is double jeopardy to be punished more then once for any crime.

  • #56883 Reply
    Noel Brown

    Is this when we are supposed to goose step and go seig-heil?? Sounds like Nazi activity to me.

  • #56920 Reply

    I so stupid like the article says it is more about revenge then prevention. The thing I found interesting in this article it says that Pedophiles are resistant to treatment because they want to continue to commit crimes against children, that makes me think of drug addicts they do the same, they don’t want treatment instead they want to continue using drugs! Yet no one seems to care about that, they would rather coddle them, they are like victims (well some are but many make a conscious decision to continue doing drugs). Why don’t any politicians try and pass a bill to make drug users take some kind of substance that makes it so drug users don’t have a desire to do drugs? Guess that would make them lose votes while going after sex offenders will help them get votes, well they won’t get mine!

    • #56923 Reply

      Some States do this for alcoholics they take a pill called Antabuse that makes them deathly ill should they drink. Once mad mothers get on a crusade against crime the constitutional rights of the said criminals gets thrown in the trash. I disagree with the use of this drug and any other trampling of constitutional rights.

  • #56947 Reply

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