Louisiana Lawmakers Vote to Allow Pedophiles to Be Surgically Castrated

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Louisiana lawmakers on Monday passed a bill that would allow people convicted of certain sex crimes against children under the age of 13 to undergo surgical castration as punishment.

The bill, which now goes to Republican Gov. Jeff Landry to sign it into law or veto, gives judges the option to sentence offenders to surgical castration if they’re found guilty of crimes including rape, incest, or molestation. Chemical castration, which uses hormone blockers to decrease sex drive, is already legal in Louisiana and several other states.

Opponents say the bill is an example of cruel and unusual punishment, but its sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Regina Barrow, stressed the “inexcusable” nature of sexual offenses against young children.

“We are talking about babies who are being violated by somebody,” Barrow said during a committee hearing in April. “That is inexcusable.”

Barrow said the law is intended to deter offenders.

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If it is signed into law by Landry, the bill will take effect for those convicted of a crime that happens after Aug. 1 of this year. It won’t apply to the 2,224 inmates currently serving time for sex crimes against children under 13.

Offenders who don’t comply with the castration sentence could be subject to three to five more years in prison.

The bill also requires a medical expert to determine whether the offender is “an appropriate candidate” for surgical castration. Barrow emphasized to the Associated Press that it won’t be applied to all sex offenders who fit the criteria for the punishment—the power will rest with individual judges. Very few offenders have been handed the chemical castration punishment since its passage in 2008, the AP reported.

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