Paedophiles will now be chemically castrated by law in Alabama

Paedophiles will now be chemically castrated by law in Alabama

Sex offenders who have attacked children younger than 13 will now be chemically castrated by law in Alabama.

On Monday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill that requires offenders to undergo the reversible procedure as a condition of their parole.

Under the law, offenders convicted of sex crimes with children younger than 13 will have to be chemically castrated before they leave prison, with the treatment beginning at least a month before their release date and continuing until a judge deems it no longer necessary.

Ivey, a Republican serving as the 54th governor of Alabama since 2017, has made no public statement on the measure and it was not known if she supported it until yesterday, which was the last day she could sign the bill.

The bill was introduced by Steve Hurst, a Republican representing Calhoun County, who claimed that the law should be taken further and offenders should be permanently castrated through surgery.

"If they're going to mark these children for life, they need to be marked for life," Hurst told NBC affiliate WSFA of Montgomery. "My preference would be if someone does a small infant child like that, they need to die. God's going to deal with them one day."

He added: "People say this is inhumane. How can it be any more inhumane than molesting a small child? Now that’s one of the most inhumane things there are."

However, the move has been strongly opposed by human-rights groups, who insist lawmakers misunderstand how the perpetrators of sexual assault operate.

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Randall Marshall, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Alabama deemed the measure "unconstitutional", stating: "It could be cruel and unusual punishment. It also implicates right to privacy. Forced medications are all concerns. They really misunderstand what sexual assault is about. Sexual assault isn't about sexual gratification. It's about power. It's about control."

The ACLU added that chemical castration could violate the U.S. Constitution’s 8th amendment, which forbids the use of cruel and unusual punishment.

Alabama is at least the seventh state in America allowing or requiring physical or chemical castration of some sex offenders, joining California, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Texas and Wisconsin.

In the majority of these states, the treatment is a reversible chemical procedure, and in many of them, an optional process for which offenders can volunteer to have to hasten their parole.