Friday, 6 June 2014

Is  chemical  castration  really  effective?    

Chemical castration is the administration of medication designed to reduce libido and sexual activity. Unlike surgical castration, where the testicles or ovaries are removed through an incision in the body, chemical castration does not actually castrate the person, nor is it a form of sterilization.
Chemical castration is generally considered reversible when treatment is discontinued, although permanent effects in body chemistry can sometimes be seen, as in the case of bone density loss. Chemical castration has, from time to time, been used as an instrument of public and/or judicial policy despite concerns over human rights and possible side effects.
Chemical castration involves the administration of antiandrogen drugs, such as cyproterone acetate or the birth-control drug Depo-Provera, which is given as an injection every three months, making compliance easier to track. The antipsychotic agent Benperidol is also indicated for this purpose, and can also be given by depot injection as a means of increasing compliance.

When used on men, these drugs can reduce sex drive, compulsive sexual fantasies, and capacity for sexual arousal. Life-threatening side effects are rare, but some users show increases in body fat and reduced bone density, which increase long-term risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

They may also experience gynecomastia (which creates development of larger than normal mammary glands in males). When used on women, these drugs deflate the breast glands and expand the size on the nipple. Also seen is a sudden shrink in bone mass and discoloration of the lips, reduced body hair, and loss of muscle mass.

Although chemical castration is presented as a humane alternative to lifelong imprisonment or surgical castration, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the coerced administration of any drug, including anti-androgen drugs for sex offenders. They argue that forced chemical castration is a "cruel and unusual punishment", and therefore should be constitutionally prohibited by the United States Eighth Amendment (protection against cruel and unusual treatment)

They also stated that it interferes with the right to procreate and could expose users to various health problems. Law professor John Stinneford has argued that chemical castration is a cruel and unusual punishment because it exerts control over the mind of sex offenders to render them incapable of sexual desire and subjects them to the physical changes caused by the female hormones used

 In the case of voluntary statutes, the ability to give informed consent is also an issue; in 1984, the U.S. state of Michigan's court of appeals held that mandating chemical castration as a condition of probation was unlawful on the grounds that medroxyprogesterone acetate had not yet gained acceptance as being safe and reliable and also due to the difficulty of obtaining informed consent under these circumstances.

What is informed consent? It is a person’s agreement to have things happen to him after he has been told what consequences may occur if he proceeds with the procedure. Are those persons who are  chemically castrated, told everything about the consequences of chemical castration?

What alternative method of sentencing is available to the courts when sentencing sexual offenders? Imprisonment. What real choice does a sex offender have when told he can choose one or the other being, they being chemical castration or imprisonment? But even if he is informed about the medical consequences of submitting himself to chemical castration, is he being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment?

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada amongst other nations) have similar wording with respect to cruel and unusual punishment by saying it shall not be inflicted.

The key word is ‘punishment’. But if a condemned offender is given the choice of imprisonment or freedom which also includes chemical castration, is the latter choice a form of unusual punishment? If there aren’t any side effects and it isn’t taken for continuous use for years on end, then no, it isn’t a form of unusual punishment. It is nevertheless to some degree, a form of punishment even though it is also a form of treatment. We take Aspirin for headaches so if a sex offender is given chemical castration to curb his desire to molest and rape his victims, is that not a form of treatment? And it certainly isn’t unusual since it is a commonly used and accepted by the majority of the population.

A 78-year-old prisoner in Louisiana was surgically castrated as part of a plea deal in a child molestation case. The alternative was life in prison. Only his testicles were removed.

In the United States, there are over a quarter of a million offenders in prison. In the Ryker’s prison in New York, it costs $150 a day to house each prisoner. There has to be a way to deal with some offenders that doesn’t place such a drain on the public purse. 

When a Delhi district court recently suggested chemical castration of serial rapists and child abusers as an alternative to a jail term, the idea was met with guarded reactions from women's rights activists. However, with the alarming increase in the number of rapes in India, the use of this alternative is becoming compelling.

I agree with the concept that chemical castration is a good idea but the problem that goes with that form of treatment is making sure that these child molesters and rapists take that treatment. If a child molester with a record of these offences is eventually released, a condition could be placed on him that he be on parole for the rest of his life and that he be given chemical treatment regularly. This will no doubt solve a great deal of those problems relating to the recidivism of such offenders.

Often people will ask if child molesters and rapists are monsters.  I do not think of child molesters and rapists as monsters unless they physically torture or kill their victims. Child molesters and rapists who do no physical harm to their victims are not really the same as those who seriously injure, torture or kill their victims. I do however see the non-violent sex offenders as sick human beings who need professional treatment just as alcoholics do. And in many cases, imprisonment can act as a deterrent.

Look at the various kinds of kinky sex there are. Is getting sexually aroused by licking a woman's toe, normal? Is having sex with an animal normal? Last year, a professional person was found hiding in the bottom of a public outhouse staring at women's behinds while they were defecating. Is that normal? Some people are actually permitting others to choke them during the sex act and as a result, some have died. Is that also normal?   I am prepared to say that these kinds of sexual activities are less normal than an adult male having sex with a young teenage girl.

Society has frowned on adults having sex with children (and rightly so) because the children might grow up thinking this is acceptable. That is where the danger is.

But to suggest that we execute them or physically castrate them or otherwise lock the non-violent pedophiles in prison for many years thereby creating a heavy drain on the public purse, is ludicrous. That is why many of them (if they are first offenders) are subjected to chemical castration as an alternative to imprisonment.

As they get older, their libido lessens and their sexual desires wane and coupled with chemical treatment, their afflictions can be reduced and their activities directed towards less evil goals in life.

I accept the premise that if these non-violent sexual predators continue to molest children despite the treatment they get, then they will have to be warehoused in prisons for many years and possibly for the rest of their lives.

As for child killers who have molested their victims prior to or after killing their victims, I have no qualms about having them put to death providing that their executions are civilized.

It's not my intention to sway my readers from their concerns about child molesters. They have every right to be concerned.

Many years ago, I was invited (as a criminologist) to appear before the Justice Committee of the Ontario Legislature to give my views on child abuse. I suggested that one in four children are sexually abused in North America at least once in their young lives. I later learned that I was wrong. It’s one in three.  I myself was sexually abused by two men as a young child so I appreciate the concerns people have.  What is really frightening is that many such offences go undetected for years. We are only learning about this problem from adults who were silent about the abuses they underwent when they were too afraid to speak out when they were children. In a recent Canadian case, a great many adults spoke about one child molester who molested them when they were young teenagers.

What I have attempted to do is convince my readers that this problem is not a simple one to deal with and the suggestion of physically castrating them or executing them all, violent and non-violent child molesters alike simply won't pass muster in this era we are currently living in. That is why chemically castrating first offenders if their crimes didn’t involve serious injuries, torture or murder, is a good alternative to imprisonment.

We have to find the right way to treat and if necessary, punish them so that our children will be safe, but not at the expense of justice and fairness to these sick individuals, who in many cases, really feel that they are cursed by their afflictions and desperately want to change their ways and be normal. Chemical castration along with psychiatric treatment is a better way when dealing with first offenders who haven’t seriously injured, tortured or killed their victims.

The saying, "A dead pedophile is a good pedophile" is something from our past and isn't acceptable anymore by our society.  We should be re-thinking on ways to cure these sick individuals.

The German Nazis prior and during the Second World War thought that if they killed off all their mentally ill citizens, there would be no more mentally ill people around. They were wrong of course.  Despite the hundreds of thousands of mentally ill Germans having been murdered by the Nazi doctors in Nazi Germany, hundreds of thousands of new mentally ill people took their places after the war.

And here is the scary part. If we were to execute all child molesters, be they violent or non-violent, do you have any idea how many executions there would be? If I am right about one in four children being sexually abused in North America, that means that it's possible that one in four adults are molesting children. Even if the figure were one in twenty adults molesting children, would you have us execute at least 20 to 25 million American male adults or even one million male adults or alternatively, imprison that many?

This could decimate the males in the United States. All of a sudden, families would be decimated, co-workers would be decimated along with our friends and scientists, researchers, peacemakers and even writers like Oscar Wilde would be gone from us.

The suggestion of physically castrating them or executing them is ludicrous. Some members of society have to change their thinking so that their ideas are acceptable and feasible.

I hope that this piece has given some input on this subject. If it has, perhaps my readers can offer suggestions on how we should deal with this enormous problem—suggestions that make sense and are financially viable and are acceptable to fair-minded citizens.

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