Staff editorial: Chemical castration OK punishment

Story by The Spectator staff

CNN reports that the Argentinian province of Mendoza has authorized voluntary chemical castration for rape offenders in return for reduced prison sentences.

But the decision to chemically castrate some rape criminals raises the question of how long the treatment will be used on criminals.

The combination of psychological treatment and lowered libido results in an acceptable condition for criminals to be reintroduced to society, according to the report.

But what the legal decision neglects to address is the non-sexual desires that can drive some rapists to these heinous crimes.

The Spectator’s editorial board was split on the issue of reduced sentences for prisoners who would opt for the treatment, with three votes to reduce prison sentences and four to not reduce jail time.

It’s expensive to keep criminals in prison, and many are released early on parole anyway, some argued. So creative ways to punish criminals such as this could be a positive solution to the huge amounts of money spent on corrections.

Others argued that criminals are in prison to serve sentences for serious crimes they committed, not to be medicated and released to the general public. To take away this important component of corrections would be a disservice to the citizens that need protection.

Eight U.S. states have adopted similar measures, including Wisconsin, California, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Oregon, Louisiana and Iowa.

It’s unclear how the program will be monitored and assessed. Since it’s not permanent, when is the appropriate time to stop treatment? This issue should be reconciled before a more permanent program is instilled.

An important part of the legislation is that it’s voluntary. Convicted rapists aren’t required to participate. This is a good decision, because if it wasn’t optional, it could impede on human rights that everyone deserves.