Sex Offenders: To Castrate or Not To Castrate

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The act of rape is arguably one of the worse crimes that can be committed against another person. In the last few years there has been much debate about whether sex offenders should be castrated either voluntarily or as a forced treatment. There are a number of arguments for and against chemical or surgical castration being implemented against known sex offenders.

First it is important to explain the difference between surgical and chemical castration. Surgical castration is the removal of a man’s testicles, for the purpose of removing his reproductive abilities and to control the levels of testosterone being produced. It is questionable if surgical castration results in complete eradication of sexual desires, because the adrenal glands on the kidneys also produce testosterone, and could allow the man to still have sexual desires. This method of castration is controversial because it cannot be reversed. However the effects could be overturned with testosterone injections, which can be obtained on the streets, allowing the sex offender to regain penal function and sexual urges. Chemical castration also has the same effect but it involves an injection of antiandrogen to lower testosterone levels. The injection is a synthetic progestin, which tells the brain to inhibit the hormones that stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone. They work by tricking the brain into believing the body already has enough of the hormone, therefore the body stops producing it. As a result the levels of testosterone within the man’s body are reduced and his sexual desires are lowered. Unlike surgical castration, chemical castration is completely reversible. The injection remains in the bloodstream for six to eight weeks, but the effects significa...

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...r penalties against people who commit these types of crimes or move forward with establishing mandatory castration for sex offenders.

Works Cited

Carpenter, A. (1998). “Belgium, Germany, England, Denmark and the United States: The Implementation of Registration and Castration Laws as Protection Against

Habitual Sex Offenders.” Dickinson Journal of International Law, 16(2), 435–57.

Harrison, K. (2007). "The High-Risk Sex Offender Strategy in England and Wales: Is Chemical Castration an Option?." The Howard Journal, 46(1), 16-31.

Miller, R. (1998). “Forced Administration of Sex Drive Reducing Medications to Sex Offenders: Treatment or Punishment?.” Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 4(1), 175-199.

Rice, M., and G. Harris. (2011). "Is Androgen Deprivation Therapy Effective In The Treatment of Sex Offenders?." Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 17(2), 315-332.
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