The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill that would require chemical castration of child molesters over age 21 who have abused a child younger than 13.
The bill, known as HB379, would make the measure a condition of parole. Convicted sex offenders would have to undergo chemical castration before leaving prison, both as a deterrent, a punishment and to prevent them from harming more children in the future, reported WIAT-TV, a CBS-affiliated station in Birmingham.
The legislation has been introduced before, but this is the first time it has passed both the state House and Senate.
It now awaits Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature.
The law would be used when the abuse victim was between age 7 and 13, according to Alabama Political Reporter. For children younger than 7, Hurst told the political website, there is already legislation in place barring those molesters from getting parole.
Attorney Raymond Johnson told WIAT the measure could be seen as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and predicted it would be challenged in court.
“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,” he told the station.
But the bill’s chief sponsor’s position is that it would prevent other children from being hurt.
“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,” State Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Calhoun County, told WIAT. “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.”
Some objections were framed around whether or not the measure would actually work, and even Hurst acknowledged that it would not be 100% effective.
“A molester is still going to molest,” said State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Mobile, according to Alabama Political Reporter. “Medication won’t do it.”
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