Alabama lawmakers have passed a bill that would require pedophiles to undergo chemical castration as a condition of their parole. If Gov. Kay Ivey decides to sign the bill into law, it would apply to people over the age of 21 who have been convicted of sexually assaulting minors, CBS affiliate WIAT-TV reports.
Republican state Rep. Steve Hurst introduced the bill, which is known as HB 379. Hurst said convicted pedophiles "have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime."
Heand hopes it will make potential sex offenders think twice. "I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said, 'Don't you think this is inhumane?'" Hurst told WIAT-TV.
"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."
"If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers," said Hurst.
The bill Hurst introduced in 2016 would have required child molesters older than 21 to pay for their own surgical castration before being released from state custody. The new bill would require the felons to take medication that interferes with their sex drive.
They would be given the first dose at least a month before being released from prison, according to the bill. Then they would have to go to the Department of Public Health for subsequent treatment.
Hurst told WIAT-TV the castration could be reversed by stopping the medication. According to the bill, a court would decide when to do that.
Attorney Raymond Johnson told WIAT-TV the bill may face a challenge if it is signed into law because the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents cruel and unusual punishment. "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," Johnson said.
The attorney said child molestation is a serious offense that already has serious consequences – prison time followed by probation or parole.