Louisiana moves ahead with surgical castration for child rapists

The proposed state senate bill has sparked debate over constitutionality and racial bias, with Democratic State Senator Edmond Jordan suggesting Louisiana would need to spend at least $100,000 to defend the law from legal challenges.

Louisiana moves ahead with surgical castration for child rapists
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The Louisiana House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow judges to sentence individuals convicted of aggravated sexual offenses against children under 13 to surgical castration. The proposed law, introduced by Democratic Sen. Regina Barrow, would take the state's current punishment of chemical castration through medication a step further.

Under the new bill, judges would have the authority to order the surgical procedure for both male and female offenders, provided they are deemed viable candidates. The castration would take place no less than one week after the completion of their prison sentence, with failure to comply resulting in an additional three to five years of incarceration, Fox News reports.

Supporters of the bill, such as Democratic Rep. Delisha Boyd, argue it is necessary to protect children from repeat sexual predators. However, the proposed legislation has faced criticism from those who question its constitutionality and potential for racial bias.

Boyd stated that she wasn't "foolish [enough] to believe that if this gets on the books... all rapists are going to say I am not going to do it," noting that she believes the statute would be "a deterrent."

Democratic State Sen. Edmond Jordan raised concerns about the bill's historical context, drawing parallels to the unjust lynching and castration of black men during the Jim Crow era. He argued the punishment would disproportionately affect black men, despite the law being race-neutral on paper.

Organizations such as Voice of the Experienced have also opposed the bill, with spokesperson Bruce Reilly stating that mutilation should not be a form of punishment and questioning where the line should be drawn.

The bill has undergone amendments since its original version, which required all convicted sex offenders to undergo the procedure. The current version leaves the decision to the discretion of the judge. Proponents, like Rep. Boyd, believe the law could serve as a deterrent, while critics point to Louisiana's high wrongful conviction rates as a cause for concern.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections and Public Safety estimated that the expense of castrating each potential inmate would range from $550 to $680. However, the department did not disclose the overall annual cost associated with implementing this change.

As the bill awaits Senate approval of the changes made by the House, the debate surrounding its implementation continues. If passed, it is anticipated the legislation will face legal challenges regarding its constitutionality. Democratic State Senator Edmond Jordan, citing discussions with organizations opposed to the bill, asserted that the state would need to spend a minimum of $100,000 to defend the law in court.

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