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Convicted sex offenders in Louisiana could face chemical castration

A recent CNN article drew attention to the issue of chemical castration, a procedure which involves the administration of medication to convicted criminals to remove sexual interest and make it impossible for them to perform sexual acts. These effects are reversible when the person stops taking the drug, but the drugs can have side effects like osteoporosis, changes in cardiovascular health, blood fat levels, blood pressure and symptoms which mimic women's menopause.

Chemical castration is, for good reasons, a controversial approach to preventing sex crimes. In the past, it has been used in various countries, including Argentina, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Poland and Russia. Earlier this year, the practice was legalized in Moldova. Interestingly, at least nine U.S. states have versions of chemical castration in their laws. These states include California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, and even Louisiana.

Louisiana's chemical castration law was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal back in 2008 after a Supreme Court ruling that the execution of child rapists where the victim was not killed was unconstitutional. The law permits Louisiana judges to sentences convicted rapists to chemical castration.

From a defense perspective, the fact that we have this law on the books is unbelievable. As many critics agree, effectively removing the procreative capacity of any individual is a violation of human rights, regardless of whether they have been convicted of rape or some other sex crime. It should not be tolerated.

In addition to the need for reform, Louisiana's chemical castration law is a prime example of the need for a strong defense. Those convicted of sex crimes need to build a strong defense to counter the influence prosecutors have on sentencing on this and other matters.

Source: CNN.com, "Using chemical castration to punish child sex crimes," Madison Park, September 5, 2012

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