On Thursday, March 3, 2016, Alabama State Representative Steve Hurst, a Republican, introduced legislation to the Alabama House that would require castration for some convicted sex offenders, male or female, before leaving state custody.
Sex offenders over 21 years old, who committed currently unspecified sex acts on victims 12 years old or younger, would be subject to surgical castration.
For men, this involves removing the testicles, in an attempt to eradicate testosterone and curb sexual appetites. For women, this means female genital mutilation or circumcision, the removal of external genitalia, a practice still seen in some Central African, Middle Eastern, and Asian nations to ensure women don’t have sex outside marriage.
“The punishment should fit the crime,” Hurst told reporters.
California, Texas, Wisconsin, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Montana have laws regarding castration. Generally, repeat sex offenders in these states must undergo chemical castration prior to release. Artificial female hormone treatment is used to reduce testosterone levels.
Some states perform the surgical procedure on males if they desire it; a handful of sex offenders have undergone the surgery to reduce their prison time.
The Alabama proposal is unique in that it requires the surgery and addresses female convicts.
Studies suggest castration does prevent future molestation and rape, but opponents of the surgery, such as the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, argue medical treatment is just as effective, castration only addresses sex drive and not mental health issues, castration constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment,” which the U.S. Constitution bans in Amendment VIII, and that the falsely convicted will also be castrated.
Hurst has introduced this sort of legislation twice before, without success.