Law for sex offenders to take drug that will kill sex drive
Oklahoma is set to be added to the list of states that will give the option of “chemical castration” for convicted pedophiles and sex offenders.
Despite the push for the new law, the state is tough-on-crime reputation so that the legislation may see a strong opposition.
A first-term Oklahoma state representative, Rick West, filed the bill at the request of a constituent confirming he intends to push for its passages.
At least seven other US states have laws that allow courts to order chemical treatments that “cut off” pedophiles sex drives. Experts say the punishment is rare and a criminal justice “half fantasy.”
IBtimes reports: “When I knocked on that guy’s door when I was campaigning, he said: ‘I’ll vote for you if you’ll run this bill,'” West said, explaining he is confident his constituents would support efforts to prevent sex crimes, especially against children.
It is unclear how often the procedure is used, but it appears to be rare. For it to be used in California, a judge would have to issue an order as part of a convict’s sentence. Only a couple of parolees are currently required to receive the treatment every year, said prisons spokesman Luis Patino.
Prison officials in Montana and Louisiana are aware of only one case in each state in the last decade in which a judge ordered the treatment.
Oklahoma’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter is concerned about West’s proposal, saying that requiring unwilling offenders to undergo such treatments likely violates the Constitution’s 8th Amendment.
“It’s hard to imagine this couldn’t be considered cruel or unusual,” said chapter spokeswoman Allie Shinn, who added there is little scientific evidence to suggest such treatments are even effective.
“I don’t want to place too much faith in the Oklahoma legislature to avoid blatantly unconstitutional proposals, but we’re hopeful this bill, as written, is just too extreme to move,” Shinn said.
While drugs used to diminish an offender’s sex drive can be effective, they are mostly successful with offenders who want to change their behaviour and take them as prescribed, said Frank Zimring, a law professor at University of California at Berkeley and an expert on sex crimes.
But he said the laws are generally about good politics since sex offenders are an easy target, and not necessarily about sound criminal justice policy.