The British Government has come up with a controversial new way to stop sex offenders re-offending
The widespread criticism that followed the near-release of John Worboys, often referred to as the "black cab rapist", has highlighted flaws within the British justice system, particularly in regards to its handling of sex offenders.
Now, in a bid to stop such criminals re-offending, the Ministry of Justice has revealed that offenders could be given libido-suppressing drugs, dubbed "chemical castration".
While sex offenders are currently more likely to be offered psychiatric treatment to curb their desires, chiefs at the Ministry of Justice have been presented with research on the treatment - which would be rolled out to abusers on a voluntary basis to reduce the risk of them carrying out further crimes.
Plans regarding the treatment emerged after news broke about John Worboys potential release from prison - something which was successfully blocked by two of his victims last month. The case refocused attention on how psychiatric facilities and the British justice system failed Worboys victims, and nearly culminated in his release after serving 10 years in prison.
As of yet, ministers have not made any decisions on extending the use of libido-suppressing drugs. However, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson elaborated on the treatment and its availability, saying "Medical treatment to manage sexual arousal is already available to some sex offenders on a voluntary basis. Prisoners are prescribed medication to manage sexual arousal by a doctor, which must continue to be taken to remain effective."
Speaking to the Daily Express, Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, asserted that he supported increasing the use of libido-suppressing drugs. "Policy needs to be less about the human rights of prisoners and more about public safety," he said. "While something like this would be voluntary, it should be prioritised over other methods as it is far more effective".
However, chief executive of the charity Enough Abuse UK, Marilyn Hawes, warned that extending the use of the pills was a "knee-jerk reaction" to the John Worboys case, and that it was only "putting a plaster on the real problem".
"When people who don’t know what drives paedophiles hear the idea they can take a drug and children will be safe from them, it sounds wonderful," she stated.
But drawing attention to the underlying psychology of such offenders, Hawes continued: "The reality is you don’t need a sexual part to hurt children. The fantasy starts in the brain and you can’t switch that off with chemical castration."
The Justice Secretary, David Gauke, has since admitted responsibility for the decision that almost led to the release of John Worboys. Gauke decided not to challenge the Parole Board's ruling to allow the serial rapist to walk free after purportedly attacking upwards of 100 victims.
Tree High Court judges, however, upheld the legal challenge posed by two of Worboys's victims and ordered the Parole Board to reconsider their decision. Judges later asserted that the panel "should have undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending" and examined how "the limited way... he has described his offending may undermine his overall credibility and reliability".