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Castration of sex offneders

Can Castration Cure Sexual Offenders?

Posted by Orchiectomy on 2002-08-28 20:36:28

One Question I'd Like To Consider is: Can Castration Cure Sexual Offenders? By Kevin Cassell

My answer to this question: No. But according to a recent German study, it can reduce recidivism by sexual offenders when it's part of a rehabilitation / reintegration program including counseling in chemical dependency and depression management: Only 3% of surgically or chemically castrated offenders committed sexually-related crimes following their release from incarceration, compared to 43% of those who were not castrated.

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes even "voluntary castration" as a form of cruel and unsual punishment. (It is illegal in most states.) One of its arguments is that sexually-related crimes have little, if anything, to do with sex; rather, it has everything to do with power manifested through violence.

This may very well be true. But, still, it's ludicrous to completely take the "sex" out of sexually-related crimes. If an offender were merely interested in power, he wouldn't become physically aroused if he didn't assign to that power an erotic association. Sexual arousal in men--and for that matter, violent proclivities as well--has a lot to do with two things (1) the culture (and subcultures) they inhabit and have been socialized by, and (2) their testosterone levels.

The first can be dealt with, imperfectly perhaps, through rehabilitation which recognizes that, even though the culture can't be changed to suit the offender, the offender may be changed to better suit his culture. The second can be dealt with, again perhaps imperfectly, by eliminating the primary source of testosterone: the offender's testes.

This may sound cruel to the humansitic liberal, but it serves practical, civic, and finally humanistic purposes. Yes, in some cases, perhaps castration will have the opposite effect and make offenders more violent by virtue of the fact that they've been "robbed" of that thing so important to so many men: their "manhood." But in most cases, as studies suggest, reducing the sex-drive of sexual offenders as well as a primary chemical influence on aggressive behavior will afford them a greater chance of reintegrating with a society that promotes both sex and aggression iconographically while deploring its actual practice.

Let's discard the myth that rape and child molestation are just "acts of violence". What about the pedophile who secretly videotapes children undressing in private so he can watch it later while pleasuring himself? Is that "violence"? Is it all about power and control? Not really. But it is sexual in nature, and I assume that the same desires of this "safe" pedophile help to motivate the "dangerous" ones, the child molesters. Addressing issues of power and violence is only half the story; attending to the deeply ingrained and probably unchangeable sexual psyche of such offenders is the other.

More states should allow incarcerated sexual offenders the option of chemical or surgical castration (the latter is more effective, some scientists claim) as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation process that includes drug and alcohol awareness and anger management.