Controversial Punishment for Sex Offenders Gets the Green Light

( – On June 3rd, Louisiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill that will allow judges the option to sentence people convicted of certain aggravated sex crimes against children to be surgically castrated.

While the bill, written by Democratic Louisiana state Sen. Regina Barrow, received overwhelming approval from Republicans in both chambers, many Democrats voted against it.

The bill allows people convicted of heinous crimes against a child under 13 years old to be sentenced to surgical castration. Under the legislation, before the procedure, a medical expert is required to “determine whether that offender is an appropriate candidate.”

The sentence will not automatically be given, and an offender will receive the sentence on a case-by-case basis at a judge’s discretion. The bill, which can be applied to both men and women, states that if a judge sentences an offender to surgical castration and they fail “to appear or refuses to undergo” the procedure, they could face charges of “failure to comply,” which has a three to five-year jail sentence.

While 2,224 people are in jail in Louisiana for sex crimes against children younger than 13 years old, if signed into law, the potential sentence will only apply to those convicted of crimes that occur after Aug. 1st.

Republican Louisiana state Sen. Valarie Hodges called the potential sentence “a step over” and “a consequence” instead of “just going to jail and getting out.”

Barrow hopes the legislation serves as a deterrent.

Louisiana, California, Alabama, Florida, and Texas have laws that allow for a sentence of chemical castration, and, in some of those states, the offenders have the option of choosing a surgical procedure. Chemical castration blocks testosterone production by using medications, while surgical castration is a more invasive procedure. Though Louisiana has had its chemical castration law in place since 2008, it appears to have been used in only a few cases.

Louisiana would become the first state to allow for a sentence of surgical castration if Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signs the bill into law.

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