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Louisiana allows surgical castration of child molesters

Photo: Pixabay Louisiana has 2,224 people imprisoned for such crimes. The law can only apply to those who were convicted of a crime on or after August 1 of this year.

Sara Cline – Associated Press Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Posted at 6:57 p.m.

  • United States

Louisiana became the first U.S. state where judges can order offenders guilty of certain sex crimes against children to undergo surgical castration, under a bill approved Tuesday by the Republican governor Jeff Landry.

While surgical castration is used in other countries known for harsher criminal penalties, including the Czech Republic and Nigeria, it will be new in the United States. The governor's office confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that Landry signed the bill earlier in the week.

Supporters of the Louisiana law , which takes effect Aug. 1, hope the possible new penalty will deter people from committing sex crimes against children. Opponents argue that it is “cruel and unusual” punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. They say it will likely face legal challenges.

The law gives Louisiana judges the ability to sentence a person to surgical castration after that person was convicted of certain aggravated sex crimes – including rape, incest and sexual assault – against a child under 13. The sanction is not automatic and would be determined on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the judge.

Louisiana has 2,224 people imprisoned for such crimes. The law can only apply to those who were convicted of a crime on or after August 1 of this year.

A handful of states, including Louisiana, California, Florida and Texas, have laws allowing chemical castration of people guilty of certain sex crimes. In some of these states, offenders can opt for surgery if they wish. But no other state allows judges to impose surgical castration outright, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Louisiana, which for 16 years has allowed judges to order chemical castration of people convicted of certain sex crimes against children, this punishment is rarely imposed. Chemical castration uses medications that block testosterone production to decrease libido. Surgical castration is a much more invasive procedure that involves the removal of the testicles or ovaries.

An offender who “fails to appear or refuses to undergo” castration surgery after a judge orders the procedure could be charged with “failure to comply” and face an additional three to five years in prison, depending on the bill's wording.

The bill received overwhelming approval in both Republican-dominated chambers. State Sen. Regina Barrow, a Democrat, authored the bill, but votes against it came primarily from Democrats.

“We're talking about babies being raped by someone,” Barrow said at a committee meeting in April. “It’s inexcusable. »

Supporters of this measure argue that the punishment is reserved for horrific crimes committed against children. Critics argue that the state should focus on rehabilitating those guilty of such crimes to reduce recidivism rates.

Others question whether more States could consider adopting a law similar to Louisiana's and are questioning the constitutionality of such measures. The United States decided that punitive sanctions — “an eye for an eye” — were cruel and abnormal, said Katrina Sifferd, a philosophy professor at Elmhurst University.

“We don’t rape rapists,” she pointed out. “We don’t cut off the hands of thieves.”

Louisiana is known for some of its tough-on-crime policies, including the use of nitrogen gas and electrocution as possible means of carrying out executions on death row. Mr. Landry, who took office as governor in January, campaigned on a tough-on-crime platform.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116