Castration not the solution for sex offenders

Chemical castration constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Instead of being a cure for a criminal disease, forced chemical castration is still castration. Unless the United States is trying to stop citizens from preventing Project Mayhem, this barbaric punishment for prisoners needs to end. Today six states use mandatory chemical castration as medicinal treatment for these particularly heinous offenders. Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Suspension, or MPA, commercially known as Depo-Provera, is used as a womenâÄôs birth control shot. When injected into men, the drug reduces the effects of testosterone produced by the testes and the adrenal gland, counteracting the libido fueled by the testosterone circulating in the bloodstream. With less testosterone in their bodies, the ability to have sex is eliminated for many inmates. Our correctional system allows years spent behind bars to carry enough weight for killers to rejoin society, hoping that the threat of returning to prison is enough to discourage a repeat offense. Civil rights should be the same for sex offenders and if we honestly do not believe that a particular convict is able to integrate with society, we should not release them back into the public. A common misconception about sex offenders is that they are unable to reenter society because of the nature of their crime, so infringing on an offenderâÄôs rights can prevent them from striking again. However the re-arrest rate for sex offenders is 52 percent, while the recidivism rate for all convicts is more than 60 percent. Surely, sex offenders can be rehabilitated at least as well as the average hardened criminal. Forcing prisoners to follow the law by removing a natural function of any part of the body without consent is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, and not the answer to the fundamental flaws with our criminal justice system. Our judicial system needs a massive reworking to lower recidivism nationwide, increasing restrictions on sex offenders will only worsen the problem already within the system. America needs to offer MPA only as a consensual procedure for willing patients. This column, accessed via UWire, was originally published in The Battalion at Texas A&M. Please send comments to [email protected]