Castration Bill Approved by Louisiana House Panel

A bill recently proposed in the Louisiana House of Representatives could, if passed, provide one more reason to have a defense attorney on your side.

According to The Advocate, the Louisiana House’s Criminal Justice Committee, a 10-member panel, recently approved a bill that would introduce the penalty of chemical castration for those convicted of certain sex offenses. The bill will now go before the full House for a vote.

Senate Bill 144, introduced by Senator Nick Gautreaux, would reportedly allow chemical castration for males convicted of aggravated rape, forcible rape, second-degree sexual battery, aggravated incest and aggravated crimes against nature.

Chemical castration, it seems, consists of giving convicted offenders injections of medroxyprogesterone acetate, a chemical that reduces testosterone levels and thus decreases sex drive.

But, as the Daily World reports, some activists have raised objections to the proposed legislation.

Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, has evidently denounced the bill on several grounds, including the following:

  • Gender discrimination: The bill offers the punishment of castration for male sex offenders, with no equivalent for female sex offenders.
  • Inappropriate use of funds: Esman reportedly argued that the $40,000 required to administer the hormone-castration treatment would be better spent providing counseling for offenders while they spend time in prison.
  • Application: As the bill now stands, castration would be an optional punishment for date rape, a crime that Esman allegedly pointed out can be triggered when alcohol consumption diminishes the decision-making capabilities of both parties.

A criminal defense lawyer who spoke to the Criminal Justice Committee reportedly argued against the bill as well, noting that rape and related crimes are about power, not sex. It seems the defense attorney suggested that violent offenders unable to commit sex crimes would simply commit other violent crimes – in short, castration would solve virtually nothing.

And, sources indicate, a medical expert testified that certain research has demonstrated that medroxyprogesterone acetate can lead to tumors. This could prove disastrous, since the current draft of the bill calls for optional assignment of chemical castration for first-time offenders and mandatory castration for repeat offenders.

Sex offenders who refuse the chemical treatment, it seems, would face a mandatory three-year prison sentence.

Despite the urging of various experts, the House committee reportedly passed the castration bill 9-1, after limiting the crimes for which castration would be an optional punishment. In the original version, non-sexual crimes like kidnapping were apparently included in the offenses punishable by castration.