Alabama Legislature Passes Bill To Chemically Castrate Those Convicted Of Sexual Offenses Against Children 13 And Under

The Alabama state legislature has sent a bill to Gov. Kay Ivey that proposes sex offenders convicted of abusing children age 13 and under be required to undergo chemical castration before leaving prison.

The bill, known as HB379, would require the individual to pay for the injection but that a person will not be denied parole because of inability to pay the cost of the treatment.

"Under existing law, a person convicted of a sex offense involving a child which constitutes a Class A or B felony is not eligible for parole. This bill would provide that a person convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13 years who is eligible for parole, as a condition of parole, shall be required to undergo chemical castration treatment in addition to any other penalty or condition prescribed by law," the bill reads.

The bill applies to convicted offenders over the age 21, State Representative Steve Hurst, the Republican who introduced the bill to the Legislature, told WIAT-TV.

If a criminal refuses to take the treatment "as a condition of parole" then it would be considered a parole violation and the individual would be ordered to return to jail.
The bill also lays out the definition for chemical castration, saying it is, "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." Medroxyprogesterone acetate is a female hormone commonly used in treatment of menopause or in birth control.
Chemical castration, unlike surgical castration, does not involve the surgical removal of genitals.
The use of the chemical castration method was first legalized in California in 1996 and used for the same purpose as the proposed Alabama law. Other states which have legalized the method include Florida and Texas, though it is uncertain how often the treatment is used.
Attorney Raymond Johnson told CBS 42 that he expects the law to be challenged in court via the Eighth Amendment. "They're going to claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has served their time and for the rest of their life have to be castrated."
However, Hurst told WIAT-TV that he feels the punishment should fit the crime committed by the offenders.
"They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime," Hurst said.
"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 said, adding that he hopes the bill will make offenders think twice about their actions, knowing what could happen if they are convicted.
"If we do something of this nature, it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers," he said.
It is unknown if Ivey will sign the bill into law, though it was presented to her on May 31. If the law is enacted, it will go into effect on the first day of the third month after it is signed into law.
Alabama state capitol
The Alabama State Capitol stands on May 15, 2019 in Montgomery, Alabama. Today Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a near-total ban on abortion into state law. Getty/Julie Bennett