The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday requiring that child rapists be chemically castrated for the rest of their lives once released from prison.
House Bill 379 is sponsored by State Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford.
Hurst said his original idea was for surgical castration, but after much research of the issue, he instead opted for chemical castration, which involves requiring felons to take medication that inhibits their sex drive. The felons would be given the first dose of medication prior to their release. As a condition of their parole they would have to go to the Health Department for follow up doses, either through injection or orally. They would have to take the medication for the rest of their life. Failure to do so would be a parole violation and a class C felony under this legislation.
The perpetrator would have to be 21 or over and the victim between the ages of 7 to 13.
Hurst said he has already passed legislation that prevents child molesters who rape a child 6 years old and younger from getting parole.
The treatment is chemical not surgical. Child molesters would have to take hormone treatments to limit their sex ability and drive for the rest of their lives. It is reversible simply by stopping taking the medication. That would be a felony, unless the felon was pardoned or later had his conviction overturned.
State Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Midfield, asked how they could track that the medication was actually working. Hurst admitted that would not be 100 percent effective as some people might molest the children with object, but he said if it helped prevent some children from being molested, then it would be worth it.
Hurst said the bill was amended in committee to require them to take the medication for the rest of their lives. In an earlier version of the bill, the medication requirement would have simply been a parole violation.
Hurst said the offenders would have to pay for the medication unless they were indigent, and then the state would pay. The state would also have to pay for the treatment prior to their release from prison.
“I am not for hurting anyone, but if they hurt a child, they need to be marked for life,” Hurst said.
State Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, told Hurst he praised him for the work he has done on this.
“This is a good bill,” Simpson said.
“A molester is still going to molest,” said State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Mobile. “Medication won’t do it.”
State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, accused the Republican majority of being cruel.
“Y’all just need to go ahead and pass the bill to chop the penis off,” Givan said.
HB379 passed the House 72 to 16.
The legislation now advances to the Alabama Senate.
Givan said she believes this bill won’t go anywhere in the Senate.