An Alabama lawmaker, State Representative Steve Hurst, plans to introduce a new form of physical punishment for sex offenders — a permanent surgical castration of those found guilty of child sexual abuse in addition to imprisonment, reports a local news portal, News10.
According to the bill, a person over the age of 21 who commits a sex offense against a child 12 years old or younger, would be surgically and permanently castrated before leaving prison.
According to Hurst, such measures would reduce sexual abuse of children in Alabama, but this initiative has predictably received a mixed reception from state residents: while people generally agree that punishment for such a crime should definitely be severe, the idea of permanent physical mutilation does not feel right for some of the respondents.
Hurst, however, is convinced that permanent punishment is justified by what he sees as permanent injury to the victims:
"They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime," he said.
The bill will have to pass the judiciary committee before it's heard by the Alabama House and Senate.
Currently, only 7 states allow voluntary chemical castration as a replacement to imprisonment of those convicted of sexual offenses, and Texas is the only state that currently allows certain repeat offenders to elect surgical castration. Both chemical and surgical method still cause a significant amount of controversy among the lawmakers and the society.