South Korea was poised Wednesday to become the first Asian country to use chemical castration on child sex offenders.
A bill prescribing the hormonal neutralization of testosterone in “sexual deviants” aged 19 or over was passed Tuesday in the National Assembly by 137 votes to 13, which President Lee Myung-bak was expected to sign into law when he returns from abroad.
Members of Parliament also voted to introduce the measure of removing offenders’ testosterone -- officially described during court sentencing as a medical treatment -- supposedly designed to “remove any negative connotations” inherent in the term castration.
The original version of the bill was introduced two years ago after a 58-year-old man raped and assaulted an eight-year-old girl, leaving her permanently disfigured. Public outrage triggered increased security measures at schools and the installation of CCTV cameras in playgrounds and prompted impassioned pleas for tougher laws and harsher punishments.
There were concerns about the effectiveness or safety of the treatment, and pressure to pass it waned until the government was embarrassed by a renewed spate of attacks this year.
Last week, a repeat sex offender aged 44 was charged with kidnapping an eight-year-old from her classroom and raping her, and an investigation began at the weekend into the case of a Vietnamese girl snatched from a street during the day and raped.
South Korea already imposes fierce legal punishments. Last week a 33-year-old man was sentenced to death after being found guilty of the February rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl.
Louisiana two years ago gave judges the right to order drug treatments to eliminate the sex drive of offenders convicted of a range of crimes, including forcible rape and aggravated incest.
My response is pretty much what it was on the original post: This isn't going to work. This is just a reactionary tool meant to appease the public that will neither make children any safer nor prevent future victims. I don't even think it would stop punished child rapists from re-offending. The only solution to this kind of problem has to be proactive and preventive in nature.