Some American states considered mandatory castration for repeated sexual predators, either through surgery or chemicals. The idea was that child molesters would not continue their crimes if castrated.
Techniques outside the scope of traditional penalties, such as fines and incarceration, are constitutionally suspect.
Courts have invalidated several medical treatments as cruel and unusual punishment and view with particular disfavor experimental, peculiar, and ineffective “therapies.” In Skinner, Justice Jackson wrote,
“here are limits to the extent to which a legislatively represented majority may conduct biological experiments at the expense of the dignity and personality and natural powers of a minority-even those who have been guilty of what the majority define as crimes.”
In reasoning that echoes a cruel and unusual punishment analysis, the court in People v. Gauntlett struck down a sentence compelling a man convicted of a sexual offense to submit to MPA injections as an unlawful condition of probation and unauthorized by state law because MPA had not received FDA approval specifically for chemical castrations, and had not gained acceptance in the medical community as a safe and effective treatment for males. While chemical castration has yet to be analyzed pursuant to the federal Constitution, courts have held surgical castration to be violative of the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against cruel and unusual punishment.
In holding that a fine for assault and battery was within the sentencing parameters established by a Georgia statute, the court in Whitten v. State explained that quartering, burning, hanging in chains, and castration are cruel and unusual punishments. In Davis v. Berry, the court struck down an Iowa statute that authorized vasectomies for repeat felons as cruel and unusual punishment, and as violative of both equal protection and due process. The court distinguished vasectomy from surgical castration, but reasoned that the two procedures induced similar effects on the defendant.
Vasectomy, like castration, was held to be cruel and unusual punishment because “the humiliation, degradation, and mental suffering are always present and known.”
Under medical supervision, anti-androgen drugs, such as cyproterone, are injected under a multi-week treatment. On sexual offenders, Depo-Provera, a progestin shot, is used. One thing should be noted that Chemical castration does not remove the testicles, and if the chemical treatment is discontinued, testosterone and sperm production may resume.
In surgical castration, a surgeon makes an incision in the scrotum and pulls out the vas deferens duct until the testicle is completely exposed. The vas deferens is knotted and cut, then the testicle is removed. The remaining vas deferens is placed back into the scrotum. Then the doctor stitches up the incision. The same procedure is repeated for the other testicle.
WARSAW – Poland on Friday approved a law making chemical castration mandatory for pedophiles in some cases, sparking criticism from human rights groups. Under the law, sponsored by Poland’s center-right government, pedophiles convicted of raping children under the age of 15 years or a close relative would have to undergo chemical therapy on their release from prison.
“The purpose of this action is to improve the mental health of the convict, to lower his libido and thereby to reduce the risk of another crime being committed by the same person,” the government said in a statement.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said
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