Show how chemical castration for sex offenders has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years.
Essay Plan / Outline
Title: “The Use of Castration as a Means to Mitigate Sexual Crimes and Re-offending”
- Introduction (600 words)
PARAGRAPH 1: Central Theme = General Introduction (150 words)
- Provide a general introduction to the topic to hook the reader’s attention. Use the article by Aitkenhead (2013) published in The Guardian newspaper to achieve this, which talks about how more than one-hundred British sex offenders have volunteered for chemical castration. Cite Meyer III & Cole (2008) as evidence that much research has gone into studying the recidivism rates of chemically castrated offenders in recent years.
Scott, C.L. & Holmberg, T. (2003) ‘Castration of Sex Offenders: Prisoners’ Rights Versus Public Safety’, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Vol. 31, pp. 502-209.
PARAGRAPH 2: Central Theme = Increased Usage of Chemical Castration Around the World (150 words)
- Show how chemical castration for sex offenders has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years. Cite Lee & Cho (2013) for an example in South Korea, where chemical castration has been introduced for the first time in Asia in 2011, due to a growing number of sex crimes against minors. Also cite Daley (2008) for another example in the United States.
Blinder, A. (2019) ‘What to Know About the Alabama Chemical Castration Law’, The New York Times [online], https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/us/politics/chemical-castration.html, Date accessed 8/12/2019.
PARAGRAPH 3: Central Theme = Rationale For the Study (150 words)
- Use the short quote from Mercado, Terry & Perillo (2011), who say that: “The use of chemical castration for the treatment of sex offenders remains controversial” (n.p.). Go on to say that Mercado, Terry & Perillo (2011) explain that some people argue that chemical castration strips people of their individual freedom of thought, while others argue that this is justifiable as it prevents the sexual abuse of minors. Moreover, also add that the lines between the law and medicine are often blurred, and so more research is needed in this area.
PARAGRAPH 4: Central Theme = Outline of What is to Come (150 words)
- In this section, provide an outline of what is to come in the essay, so that the reader knows what to expect. You can start by saying: “The essay will begin by providing a historical overview of castration, both physical and chemical, to show how and why it has been used in the past”. Then move on to provide a brief outline of each section in the paper, before moving on to reveal what will be argued (i.e. that chemical castration could be used as a last resort against sexual predators, but that it must be carefully regulated and backed by empirical evidence).
- Main Body (4,800 words in total)
2.1 A Historical Overview of Castration and Why It Has Been Used
PARAGRAPH 1: Central Theme = Providing a Historical Overview of Physical and Chemical Castration (600 words)
- Refer to Meyer III & Cole (2008) again, who state that physical castration has been documented throughout history as a means of mitigating sex drive. Refer to the eunuchs of ancient Greece, who were castrated servants that could be trusted to serve the wives of wealthy individuals. Outline how such castration has been used for other reasons too, such as for punishment, or for medical reasons. Include female genital mutilation (FGM) as the female version of such physical castration. Then show how in recent years, chemical castration has been offered as an alternative to physical castration, so that sexual violence can be mitigated. Use numerous other sources to go into more detail, tracing the history of castration on humans, and how it has been used in different societies.
La Barbera, M. (2009) Multicentered Feminism: Revisiting the ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ Discourse, Palermo: Compostampa.
Momoh, C. (2005) Female Genital Mutilation, UK: Radcliffe Publishing Limited.
Shell-Duncan, B. (2008) ‘From Health to Human Rights: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Intervention’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 110, No. 2, pp. 225-236.
Stohr, M.K., Walsh, A. & Hemmens, C. (2013) Corrections: A Text/Reader, London: Sage.
2.2 Outlining the Evidence Base For Chemical Castration: Empirical Evidence and the Pros and Cons
PARAGRAPH 1: Central Theme = Providing an Initial Argument For the Use of Chemical Castration (600 words).
- Provide some statistics on the prevalence of sex offences in the UK and beyond, and include separate statistics on sex offences against minors. For example, Tullio (2009) states that there are around 100,000-500,000 children that are sexually molested in the United States every year, which means that child sex abuse is an epidemic. Outline how child sex abuse has become a big issue in the UK in recent years, due to a spate of high profile stories in the media concerning sex offences carried out by public figures—such as by children’s TV stars Rolf Harris (Evans, 2014) and Jimmy Savile (Halliday, 2014), and former popular newsreader Stuart Hall (Laville, 2015). Moreover, also cite Tullio (2009), who states that as legislation and punishment cannot alone fully solve the problem of child sex abuse, then medicine and science need to be called to action so that society can be a safer place.
Bund, J.M. (1998) ‘Did You Say Chemical Castration?’ University of Pittsburgh Literature Review, Vol. 59.
Meisenkothen, C. (1999) ‘Chemical castration–breaking the cycle of paraphiliac recidivism’, Social Justice, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 139-154.
PARAGRAPH 2: Central Theme = Providing an Initial Argument Against Chemical Castration (600 words).
- Start by citing Comartin, Kernsmith & Kernsmith (2009), who claim that there is less public support for the castration of sex offenders than for other forms of punishment or rehabilitation. Perhaps refer to the 1962 novel and the later 1971 film of the same name in ‘A Clockwork Orange’, if you want to make the piece more interesting, which is a fictional tale of a serial sex offender who is conditioned via a form of aversion therapy, to make him feel ill whenever he thinks about sex or violence. Compare this with current approaches to sex offenders, in the use of chemical castration. Discuss the intricacies of individual rights and freedoms, and whether chemical castration should be an option for sex offenders, as an alternative to a custodial sentence, or whether it should be mandatory upon their release from prison.
Beckman, L. (1997) ‘Chemical Castration: Constitutional Issues of Due Process, Equal Protection, and Cruel and Unusual Punishment’, West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 100.
Koo, K.C. et al. (2013) ‘Treatment outcomes of chemical castration on Korean sex offenders’, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 563-566.
Runckel, J.O. (1997) ‘Abuse It and Lose It: A Look at California’s Mandatory Chemical Castration Law’, Pacific Law Journal, Vol. 28.
PARAGRAPH 3: Central Theme = Outlining the Current Evidence Base For Chemical Castration (600 words)
- Outline that there remains some debate over the effectiveness of chemical castration as a treatment for sex offenders, with Greene, Heilburn, Fortune & Nietzel (2007) nothing that the evidence base is split on this, with some studies reporting a dramatic decrease in recidivism rates following hormone treatment, while other studies report that such drugs are only effective for sex offenders that want to control their behaviour and who feel unable to do so. Thus, according to these studies, chemical castration does not suppress erections or prevent sexual arousal completely, and it is argued that such an approach is less effective than a combination of interventions, which include: (1) counselling, (2) medication, and (3) behaviour modification. Furthermore, also note how there are significant side effects of chemical castration, such as lethargy, nightmares, hypertensions, and shortness of breath, but despite this when sex offenders are given the choice between a prison sentence and hormone treatment, they inevitably choose the latter.
PARAGRAPH 4: Central Theme = Showing That Despite the Lack of Evidence of the Effectiveness of Chemical Castration, Many States Are Turning to Such Approaches (600 words)
- Greene, Heilburn, Fortune & Nietzel (2007) also go on to explain that despite a lack of firm empirical evidence that supports the effectiveness of chemical castration as a means of controlling sex offenders and allowing them to live amongst the general public, a number of states have still proceeded to formulate legislate that uses hormone treatments on sex offenders. For example, California was the first American state to pass a law requiring repeat child sex offenders to be treated with hormones as a condition of parole (although this has to be signed off with a clinician to verify that the offender will benefit from such a treatment). Moreover, from 1996-2007, nine other US states followed in California’s path, and passed laws authorising the use of either chemical or surgical castration amongst sex offenders. In addition, also list other countries that currently use chemical castration as a means of controlling sex offenders, such as South Korea, Argentina, Europe, Indonesia, Russia, and Israel.
BBC News (2019) ‘Chemical castration: Alabama enacts new paedophile law’, BBC News [online], https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48593699, Date accessed 8/12/2019.
Einbinder, N. (2019) ‘Alabama’s state legislature just passed a bill to chemically castrate child sex offenders’, Business Insider [online], https://www.businessinsider.com/alabama-legislature-passed-bill-chemically-castrate-child-sex-offenders-2019-6?r=US&IR=T, Date accessed 8/12/2019.
Mackey, D.A. & Levan, K. (2013) Crime Prevention, USA: Jones & Bartlett.
Renaldi, A. & Poa, J. (2019) ‘First Man Sentenced to Chemical Castration in Indonesia Said He Would “Rather Die”’, Vice [online], https://www.vice.com/en_in/article/59nbnq/first-man-sentenced-to-chemical-castration-in-indonesia-said-he-would-rather-die, Date accessed 8/12/2019.
Scott, C. & del Busto, E. (2015) ‘Chemical and Surgical Castration’. In: Wright, R. (Ed.) Sex Offender Laws, Second Edition: Failed Policies, New Directions, New York: Springer Publishing Company (pp. 190-219).
PARAGRAPH 5 (Part 1): Central Theme = Examining the Drugs Used to Induce Chemical Castration (600 words)
- There are a number of drugs used to induce chemical castration with the aim of reducing sex drives in sex offenders. Gavin (2014) outlines two of the most common drug groups used, in: (1) anti-androgens (which lower testosterone levels), and (2) selective serotonin inhibitors (such as Prozac, which don’t have a direct effect on testosterone, but do impact on sex drive and the strength of sexual thoughts). So, clearly, there is no one fit for all sex offenders, as there are different issues and drivers of such sex offences. Therefore, for those offenders who have extremely high sex drives that they find difficult to control, offences might be more rooted in biology, and so medications such as Prozac or anti-androgens (or a combination of both) may be useful in mitigating such sex drives, as all of the counselling and psychological work in the world will not eliminate the propensity for sex offending in an individual with an unusually high sex drive (Gavin, 2014). However, for someone whose sex offending is more rooted in psychological problems, then such medications may have little effect.
PARAGRAPH 6 (Part 2): Central Theme = Examining Concerns About the Use of Chemical Castration (600 words)
- Quote from Gavin (2014), who says that: “Many people are concerned that medicating sex offenders implies that they are suffering from a disease, relieving them of responsibility for their actions and treating them as victims of their biology” (n.p.). Thus, reiterate that this may be partially the case for some offenders, as noted in the previous paragraph, but then go on to explain more about some of the psychological causes of sex offending, which cannot be adequately addressed through chemical castration. Gavin (2014) says that there are a range of psychiatric issues associated with sex offending, and while there are a small group of sex offenders who need assistance in managing their sex drives, it is those with psychiatric problems that make up the majority of sex offenders—and in their case, chemical castration is unlikely to have a significantly positive effect. However, other medications might be used to manage any psychological conditions for sex offenders, while counselling and psychological therapy could be used to uncover the root causes of any socially unacceptable sexual inclinations.
PARAGRAPH 7: Central Theme = Understanding the Side Effects of Chemical Castration (600 words)
- Outline in detail the case of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who was chemically castrated in 1952 following being prosecuted for homosexual acts, which was illegal in the UK at the time. Turning had accepted chemical castration as a ‘treatment’ for his condition, as an alternative to prison. However, Turning died two years later in 1954 of an apparent suicide, which suggests that chemical castration can have profound psychological effects, something that lawmakers do not currently seem to be considering (Hess, 2019). Indeed, Hess (2019) states that this case is supported by a 2004 study, which showed that anxiety and depression increases in men after chemical castration. Therefore, this is something to consider when creating legislation for dealing with sex offenders.
PARAGRAPH 8: Central Theme = Whether Chemical Castration Can Be Viewed as Both a Punishment and a Treatment (600 words)
- Outline how chemical castration can be viewed as both a punishment and a treatment. Cite Grubin & Beech (2010), and provide a long quote, which is relevant here, which states that: “Demand for the prescription of anti-androgens or physical castration for sex offenders is a common reaction by lawmakers and politicians when a high profile sexual crime is committed. Although castration is ostensibly for public protection, it also carries with it a sense of symbolic retribution. Whether medical or surgical, the procedure requires the participation of doctors, and this gives rise to questions regarding the basis of medical involvement. Some people argue that not only does medical input in these cases straddle the border between treatment and punishment, but that it also shifts the doctor’s focus from the best interests of the patient to one of public safety” (n.p.). Therefore, it needs to be clarified whether chemical castration is being used as a punishment or as a treatment, as this is an important distinction to be made, and it is something that the public needs to know so that they can support or reject such an approach in a democratic society.
- Conclusions (600 words)
- Your conclusion should first provide an extensive summary of what has been discussed, highlighting the main points made. Be sure to mention the lack of empirical evidence for supporting the use of chemical castration as a means to mitigate sex offences, and underline that chemical castration must be used as a last resort against sex offenders, and must be carefully regulated around the world.
Aitkenhead, D. (2013) ‘Chemical Castration: the Soft Option?’ The Guardian [online], https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jan/18/chemical-castration-soft-option-sex-offenders, Date accessed 2/12/2019.
Comartin, E.B., Kernsmith, P.D. & Kernsmith, R.M. (2009) ‘Sanctions for Sex Offenders: Fear and Public Policy’, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Vol. 48, No. 7, pp. 605-619.
Daley, M.V. (2008) ‘A Flawed Solution to the Sex Offenders Situation in the United States: The Legality of Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders’, Indiana Health Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 87.
Evans, M. (2014) ‘Rolf Harris guilty of child sex abuse’, The Telegraph [online], http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10915195/Rolf-Harris-guilty-of-child-sex-abuse.html, Date accessed 3/12/2019.
Gavin, G.C.S. (2014) ‘Should We Be Castrating Sex Offenders?’ Psychology Today [online], https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/wiring-the-mind/201410/should-we-be-castrating-sex-offenders, Date accessed 3/12/2019.
Greene, E., Heilburn, K., Fortune, W. & Nietzel, M. (2007) Wrightsman’s Psychology and the Legal System, USA: Thomson-Wadsworth.
Grubin, D. & Beech, A. (2010) ‘Chemical Castration For Sex Offenders’, BMJ, Vol. 340, No. 74.
Halliday, J. (2014) ‘Jimmy Savile: timeline of his sexual abuse and its uncovering’, The Guardian [online], http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jun/26/jimmy-savile-sexual-abuse-timeline, Date accessed 3/12/2019.
Hess, P. (2019) ‘What Is Chemical Castration? How Controversial Alabama Law Would Be Executed’, Inverse [online], https://www.inverse.com/article/56680-how-does-medroxyprogesterone-acetate-work, Date accessed 3/12/2019.
Laville, S. (2015) ‘1,400 investigated in child sex abuse inquiry, including politicians’, The Guardian [online], https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/20/1400-suspects-operation-hydrant-politician-and-celebrity-child-sex-abuse-inquiry, Date accessed 3/12/2019.
Lee, J.Y. & Cho, K.S. (2013) ‘Chemical Castration for Sexual Offenders: Physicians’ Views’, Journal of Korean Medicine Science, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 171-172.
Mercado, C.C., Terry, K. & Perillo, A.D. (2011) ‘Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church and Other Youth-Serving Organizations’. In: Boer, D.P., Eher, R., Craig, L.A., Miner, M.H. & Pfafflin, F. (Ed.) International Perspectives on the Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders, E-Book: Wiley-Blackwell.
Meyer III, W.J. & Cole, C.M. (2008) ‘Physical and Chemical Castration of Sex Offenders’, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Vol. 25, No. 3-4, pp. 1-18.
Tullio, E.M. (2009) ‘Chemical Castration for Child Predators: Practical, Effective, and Constitutional’, Chapman Law Review, Vol. 13, p. 191.
*Note: There are now 30 sources listed in total to get you started. However, I would still recommend using around 45-50 sources in total for the final paper, if you wish to achieve a 2:1 standard.
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