As previously stated, I am currently enrolled in school online. I had to take an English class, and had to write a persuasive essay. I invested a lot of time, research, and effort into writing my paper, and feel so passionately about this topic, that I have decided to post it on my blog. This is actually the paper that finally convinced me I want to write about a lot more than just mommy-related topics. I hope you enjoy it! Don’t be afraid to leave your thoughts, feedback, and comments below.
Castrating Sex Offenders
It is estimated that 39% of sex offenders will reoffend (11). Surveys have shown that rapists can have an estimate of 11.7 victims, each (11). Something needs to be done to protect the victims and potential victims of sex offenders, in addition to reducing the number of children conceived from forced sexual intercourse.
This paper is going to assume that sexual assault victims immediately report their assaults, are believed by law enforcement, so evidence is collected in a timely manner, and that sex offenders are properly and adequately prosecuted and convicted. Of rapes that occur, approximately 5% result in pregnancies, in other words, 32,000 babies are conceived each year from rape, in the US (12).
Paired with psychological therapy and imprisonment sex offenders currently receive, the most effective way to prevent sex offenders, male or female, from repeating their crimes, and for male and female serial rapists to have the greatest possibility of receiving a second chance at living normal lives is not to condemn them to life in prison, but to castrate them either temporarily, through chemical castration and tubal ligation/vasectomy, or permanently, through surgical castration.
Although its most common name, ‘chemical castration’ is not the most accurate phrase for the process of taking medication to suppress sexual drive, thoughts, and urges. This can be executed either through medically lowering testosterone levels, or through selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. For it to be most effective, chemical castration must be voluntary, because authorities cannot force someone to take a pill or two every day after they have been released. Participants can decide to cease taking the medication at any time, so willing volunteers are the best option. Many offenders choose to undergo chemical castration because they no longer wish to be a danger to society, and they have the desire to live an otherwise normal life. (7)
For some people, their sex drives are very high and difficult to manage. If they do not seek professional and medical help, then they are at greater risk to sexually offend. A rising practice in many countries around the world is to offer chemical castration to willing sex offenders. During an interview with Psychology Today, Professor Don Grubin of the University of Newcastle, the hired consultant for the Ministry of Justice’s voluntary chemical castration program in the United Kingdom states that, “There’s a small group of offenders who need assistance in managing their sex drives, and all the psychological work in the world doesn’t lower their risk because they just find it difficult to manage their drives, sometimes to the extent that they can’t even engage in treatment because they become too distracted. In that group, medication can be very helpful,” (7).
Chemical castration is appealing to many because it is completely reversible. A few short weeks or months after discontinuing the medication leads to a full return of sexual drive and urges. Professor Grubin continues saying, “[W]e don’t tend to prescribe medication without also providing psychological treatment because the likelihood is that people are going to come off medication at some point and what you hope is to have a window in which that psychological treatment can work,” (7). Chemical castration provides an opportunity for sex offenders to learn how to regulate their urges and to focus on solving the problem without the continuous distraction of those urges. They will be better equipped to handle the onslaught of feelings when they return.
Surgical, or physical, castration, on the other hand, is not reversible. It requires a surgical procedure to permanently remove portions of the genitalia. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law published a paper on “The Impact of Surgical Castration on Sexual Recidivism Risk Among Sexually Violent Predatory Offenders” in March of 2005. Their findings concluded that when castrated, the recidivism rate (rate of non-castrated sex offenders to commit another sexual crime) fell from 40-80%, to 2-10%- a dramatically smaller rate of repeated sexual crimes. Note: The 10% recidivism rate was of a small subject group, and it was after both castrated sex offenders had received exogenous testosterone. It was especially effective at reducing recidivism when offenders had only committed one-two crimes, as opposed to three or more crimes (2).
Many people argue that physical castration is inhumane, cruel, and immoral. They worry that authorities are taking away inalienable rights from sex offenders, and even criminals need to maintain their dignity. Others argue that castration- chemical or otherwise, leads to depression, the development of breast tissue in men, and other physical and psychological side effects (9, 10).
The New York Times provides a counter to this argument: “In the Czech Republic, the issue [to castrate or not] was brought home this month when Antonin Novak, 43, was sentenced to life in prison after brutally raping and murdering Jakub Simanek, 9, who disappeared last May. Novak, who had [previously] served four and a half years in prison for sexual offences in Slovakia, had been undergoing treatment, but had stopped taking his testosterone lowering drugs two months earlier. Advocates of surgical castration argue that had he been castrated, the tragedy could have been prevented. Hynek Blasko, Jakub’s father, expressed indignation that human rights groups were putting the rights of criminals ahead of those of victims. ‘My personal tragedy is that my son is in the sky and he is never coming back, and all I have left of him is 1.5 kg of ashes,’ he said in an interview. ‘No one wants to touch the rights of the pedophiles, but what about the rights of a 9-year-old boy with his life ahead of him?’” (3).
Another alternative, that is not as permanent or drastic as castration, but would be more effectively executed than chemical castration, includes vasectomies and tubal ligations. Both are reversible, with a 30-80% chance of pregnancy according to Attain Fertility and the University of Iowa (depending on amount of time since the tubes were severed, age of the woman, sperm count, etc), or leave the option of invitro fertilization (4, 5).
How do we apply all this information into effective government policies? Repeat sex offenders prove that they are willing and able to abuse their ability to have sexual desires and urges. Sex is the process by which children come into the world. Therefore, our society should be set up in a way that repeated sex offenders, violent sex offenders, and especially pedophiles forfeit their right to produce children. It should begin with temporary loss of sexual urges, in addition to temporarily ceasing their ability to produce children, through mandatory chemical castration while imprisoned, paired with mandatory vasectomy/tubal ligation, until they are off the sex offender list, and prove to be a reduced threat to would-be victims. If the crimes are severe, or if they are repeat offenders (2 or more), then they forfeit their right to have sexual urges and to produce children permanently, through mandatory surgical castration, because they provide adequate evidence that they do not have self-control, and will remain greater risks to society.
Castrated sex offenders should still experience adequate amounts of imprisonment, to be able to receive psychological treatment, and monitoring. A no-tolerance policy should be in place, which will protect prisoners themselves from sexual abuse by inmates or staff (6). In addition to reducing prison rapes, having a no tolerance policy for temporarily and permanently castrating sex offenders will reduce the amounts of pregnancies by rape, which will in turn reduce the rate of abortions.
Chemical castration and physical castration have proven to be drastically effective forms of reducing recidivism in sex offenders, by lowering recidivism rates from as high as 80% to as low as 0-2% in case studies. The American people need to prioritize the rights and safety of victims, and potential victims, including potential posterity of the offenders, while providing the best possibilities of success to male and female sex offenders.
Sources and Other Related Content:
- US Department of Justice. Rate of rapes reported. Page 7: Table 6 https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv13.pdf
- The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law published a paper on “The Impact of Surgical Castration on Sexual Recidivism Risk Among Sexually Violent Predatory Offenders” in March of 2005. Thorough study on castrated sex offenders: http://jaapl.org/content/33/1/16
- NY Times article on castration: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/world/europe/10iht-castrate.html
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: Vasectomy Reversals: FAQs https://uihc.org/health-library/vasectomy-reversals-frequently-asked-questions
- Attain Fertility: Tubal Reversal: http://attainfertility.com/article/tubal-reversal-success-rates
- Widespread Prison Rape: https://www.hrw.org/news/2007/12/15/us-federal-statistics-show-widespread-prison-rape
- Psychology Today: Should We Castrate Sex Offenders: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wiring-the-mind/201410/should-we-be-castrating-sex-offenders
- UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women https://opsvaw.as.uky.edu/sites/default/files/07_Rape_Prosecution.pdf
- Preaching how castration is immoral, inhumane, and wrong. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1878462,00.html
- Female castration in the US http://www.hormonesmatter.com/ethics-of-total-hysterectomy-female-castration/
- Lisak & Miller, “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists” http://www.davidlisak.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/RepeatRapeinUndetectedRapists.pdf
- US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. “Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765248