Lawmaker Preparing to Propose Chemical Castration Law for Sex Offenders
A Cambria County state Senator is proposing chemical castration for certain sexual offenders.
State Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland Township, circulated a legislative memo ahead of the planned introduction of a bill seeking to institute chemical castration as a term of parole for repeat offenders along with those convicted of committing sexual crimes against children younger than 13.\
The proposed measure would seek to mandate that qualifying sex offenders be injected with a testosterone-reducing drug before release. The treatment is for males only, Langerholc said in his co-sponsorship memo circulated to his senate colleagues last week.
Langerholc said a judge would have discretion for how long an offender would remain medically castrated until such time he believes the offender is no longer a risk to commit similar crimes.
The aim, said Langerholc, a former prosecutor, is to stop recidivism.
Langerholc said the initiatives mesh with the movement in the General Assembly to reform parole while also addressing recidivism.
“Chemical castration does not cause sterilization and is not permanent. Using castration to control sex offenders’ urges to commit these heinous acts again allows the convicted sex offender, if released on parole, to be released without endangering the public,” he said.
At least 10 states – Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin – have varied laws concerning chemical castration as a parole condition, mandatory or voluntary, according to USA Today. Langerholc’s memo suggests voluntary chemical castration as a potential option.
Medical castration, or hormone therapy, is used as a treatment for breast cancer and prostate cancer, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The effect, which is reversible, is to reduce one’s sex drive, but it wouldn’t wholly eliminate urges, experts have pointed out in the past.
Recently in Bucks County there were arrests made of men seeking to engage in sexual activity with what they thought were girls 13 and under. An Upper Bucks County man earlier this month was sentenced to at least 18 years and up to 40, in prison for raping a 13 year old girl.
Langerholc called the memo a starting point.
“The General Assembly has approved many measures over previous sessions to reduce recidivism rates, this legislation is another tool in the toolbox to achieve this bi-partisan goal, as chemical castration has been proven to dramatically reduce recidivism rates.”
The state Senate reconvenes on Sept. 18, while the state House returns on Sept. 26.