You know that horrible thought you’ve never been able to say aloud about pedophiles? Poland just did.
The country’s new law has put the rubber stamp on chemical castration of all pedophiles convicted of raping a child under the age of fifteen.
Unlike traditional castration, no one will be losing a body part here. Chemical castration is generally affected by injecting men with shots of Depo-Provera. In women it’s used as birth control, but in men it inhibits the production of testosterone and thus reduces the sex drive.
It’s gotten mixed reviews from scientists and law enforcement alike over the years in part because it’s a temporary fix. Joseph Frank Smith, a poster boy for the chemically castrated “cured” sexual offender stopped taking his Depo shots and went on to rape a five-year-old child. He’s now in a Virginia prison.
Nor does it sit well with the ACLU for its side effects, including the possibility of diabetes, night sweats and more to the patient.
As ACLU Counsel Larry Spalding wrote in 1997, “These sexual offenders are sick and their actions are reprehensible, but we cannot start down a dangerous path of reactionary punishment that serves no purpose.” That was in response to Florida approving the use of chemical castration (it’s one of a handful of states that have OK’d the practice).
The grown up thing to do would be to sit back and say screw the fear of recidivism. They’ve served their time, now let them go. In fact, reports of off-the-charts recidivism for sex offenders have been proven to be widely overblown. The rates of people who leave prison only to once again commit a robbery or traffic in illegal weapons are higher.
Not victim-less crimes, but certainly less likely to hit us squarely in the gut – the way the rape of a child does. Hence that reaction that we dare not voice – the knee-jerk feeling that sex offenders deserve castration – or worse.
At the very least, we can admit Poland has just done what we’ve always dreamed of. Even if we never intended to carry through with the thought.
At the same time – the timing is awful – as one commentor on our post about Roman Polanski (and all the would-be child rape forgivers out there) points out: there’s some major hypocrisy coming out of the Polish government right now. First they say “let’s go hard core on child molestors.” Next they’re begging for Polanski to go free. It doesn’t work both ways, Poland.
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