Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Monday signed into law the chemical castration of child molesters as a condition of their parole. The new law goes into effect in September.
Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Mumford, sponsored House Bill 379 which requires that anyone convicted of a sex offense against a child under 13 to receive prior to parole medication, “including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”
Public Health Officials are still reviewing the law to understand exactly how the process will work.
The new law is a requirement for both male and female offenders who are approved for parole. The process would begin one month before release and continue until the court determines the treatment is no longer necessary.
Offenders who remain in prison to serve the duration of their sentence are not required to take the medication.
Rep. Hurst has advocated the legalization of sex-offender castration for several years. It has been a priority for him since joining the Alabama Legislature. His original proposal involved surgical castration.
It is unclear how many sex-offender parolees would be required to seek treatment. The Alabama Department of Corrections and the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole did not have estimates on the number of offenders who would qualify.
The offender is required to pay for the cost of the treatment, however, fees will be waived for indigent offenders. A person will not be denied parole if he or she cannot afford chemical castration.
Public Health Officer Scott Harris estimated the weekly injections and medication would run approximately $65 per dose.
A parolee who stops treatment will be in violation of their parole and will be returned to the Department of Corrections to finish their sentence. In addition, if the parolee intentionally stops the treatments, they will be guilty of a Class C felony.
The bill passed with a 71-16 approval in the House and 27-0 approval in the Senate.
Those who voted against the bill had concerns about the legality of the law and whether it violated their constitutional rights.
In 1996, California passed a chemical castration law followed by Oregon in 2001 and Georgia in 2006.