A Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma is currently pushing “chemical castration” as a punishment option for specific cases involving violent sexual predators or sex crimes against children.
First-term lawmaker and state representative Rick West filed the bill at the request of one of his constituents and claims he will push for the bill’s passage, no matter how unpopular it may be.
“When I knocked on that guy’s door when I was campaigning, he said: ‘I’ll vote for you if you’ll run this bill,’” West said.
If approved and turned into law, Oklahoma would be one of at least seven states that allow courts to order chemical treatments that lower testosterone for certain sex offenders.
However, some claim the bill is fanciful thinking at best, including Frank Zimring, a law professor at University of California at Berkeley and an expert on sex crimes.
“Chemical castration is half advertising slogan, half fantasy,” Zimring said. “There are chemicals which are supposed to, if dosages are maintained, reduce sex drives. That isn’t castration.”
According to the Associated Press, other issues have arisen concerning the bill, including questioning its Constitutionality.
“It’s hard to imagine this couldn’t be considered cruel or unusual,” said Oklahoma ACLU chapter spokeswoman Allie Shinn, adding that there is little scientific evidence to suggest such treatments are even effective.
“I don’t want to place too much faith in the Oklahoma Legislature to avoid blatantly unconstitutional proposals, but we’re hopeful this bill, as written, is just too extreme to move,” Shinn said.
This isn’t the first time such a bill has been introduced in Oklahoma. In 2002, a similar proposal made it all the way to the desk of the governor- before being referred to as “silly” and promptly receiving a veto of disapproval.
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