Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is currently reviewing a bill that would require certain sex offenders in the state to pay for their own chemical castration as part of their parole.
According to CNN, the bill was approved by the Alabama legislature last month.
Spearheaded by state Rep. Steve Hurst, a Republican, the bill would compel a person who is 21 or older “convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13” to begin the treatment at least a month prior to their release from custody, and to continue to receive the treatment for chemical castration “until the court determines the treatment is no longer necessary.”
Offenders will have to pay for the treatment themselves; if they can’t afford it, they could potentially be denied parole.
In the bill, chemical castration is defined as “the receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”
Hurst brushed off criticism that the bill was “inhumane.”
“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said, ‘Don’t you think this is inhumane?’ I asked them what’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through. If you want to talk about inhumane – that’s inhumane,” Hurst told WIAT-TV.
“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,” he added. “If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers.”
However, Raymond Johnson, an attorney interviewed by the station, predicts that the bill, if passed, will be challenged.
“They’re going to challenge it under the 8th Amendment Constitution. There going to claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has served there time and for the rest of there life have to be castrated,” Johnson said.
If the bill is signed into law, Alabama will join California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Wisconsin and Texas in permitting some measure of chemical castration in varying circumstances according to state law, as the Huffington Post notes.
According to CNN, Lori Johns, a spokesperson for the governor, said that the bill is “in the review process.”