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Op-Ed: 100 pedophiles were chemically castrated in the UK, or were they?

By Elizabeth Batt     Mar 13, 2012 in Crime
Nottingham - Around 100 child sex offenders jailed at HMP Whatton, Nottingham were referred for chemical castration – at least according to media reports. Upon further investigation, it appears things are not quite as clear cut. No pun intended.
In academic circles and legal circles it's called chemical castration and sounds far more insidious than it actually is. But I am a female, so perhaps my perspective is flawed? Unlike surgical castration, where part or all of the sexual organs are removed, chemical castration involves taking medication designed to quell sexual urges and prevent a predator from having sex, or essentially re-offending.
According to a report by the Daily Mirror released today, "100 perverts [were] chemically castrated in jail to crush vile urges." This arousing headline was soon picked up by other media outlets, who tripped over their (... you know what ...) to run away with the story.
But one smart cookie, Polly Curtis of The Guardian newspaper, was quick to reel them in.
In her Reality Check segment, Curtis contacted Professor Don Grubin, the criminal psychiatrist who oversees the program run by the UK's Prison Service and the Department of Health. The good professor told Curtis, the Mirror's report was sensationalized, and did not give near enough information about the treatment program itself.
The 100 patients for example, were referred over a three year period and 90% of them, "were prescribed a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) such as Prozac," said Gruber. Prozac dampens sexual desires, but does not prevent men from having sex. In essence, only around 10 percent may have actually received true "chemical castration."
The term "chemical castration" was initially used in reference to a punitive measure for sex offenders in 1982 by the Arizona Supreme Court. The first application of chemical castration occurred in 1944.
The Czech Republic was among the first countries to legalize the process. Now Poland, South Korea, Germany, Denmark, France, and Australia have followed suit. In the US, nine states have legalized and experimented with chemical castration including California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.
Last week, Moldova's parliament voted to make chemical castration compulsory for those convicted of violently abusing children under the age of fifteen.
But in true chemical castration men are treated with an anti-androgen. Leuprolide, cyproterone acetate or tryptorelinis is often used to reduce testosterone levels. Gruber said these medications, "in most cases take [...] away sexual desire [or] prevents a man's ability to get an erection or ejaculate."
Chemical castration is mostly a choice, but it bears multiple issues and controversies. Back in 1997 for example, South Coast Today reported how Montana approved the use of chemical castration simply because it could be a potential money saver.
Of course, the entire issue has been slammed by the American Civil Liberties Union who believe the process to be a "cruel and unusual punishment" warranting prohibition by the Eighth Amendment. What also remains at question, is whether chemical castration works or not, given this is an area where recidivism is extremely high.
The answer to this – in short, is it depends on who you ask, which medication is prescribed and whether offenders stick with the program. For example, of the 100 inmates at HMP Whatton Curtis said, "there was no tracking or follow-up, so Grubin can't say for sure that all of those 100 prisoners were subsequently treated, or that they stuck to the treatment."
That is too many variables and faffing about for this mother and female.
Men wishing to sexually abuse, molest or rape children and women, should face the 'One, Two, Three Chop' method of punishment. First offense, one testicle; second offense, two testicles. Third offense, 100% neutered.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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