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Chemical castration is empty rhetoric

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Z News reports that the notion of “chemical castration” as a penalty for rape is beginning to find political takers:

In her New Year message, the Chief Minister and the ruling AIADMK chief also called for amendments in existing laws to allow chemical castration for rapists and demanded a death penalty for them.

This followed the suggestion by the Congress, reported by TOI:

Congress, too, is working on several proposals for tougher punishment for rape convicts which include imprisonment up to 30 years and chemical castration in case of repeated offenders.

Even the BJP agreed, as Indiatimes reported:

Against the backdrop of the Delhi gang-rape incident, BJP suggested maximum punishment to the accused in rape cases – either death penalty or chemical castration.

What is chemical castration? Wikipedia tells us:

Chemical castration is the administration of medication designed to reduce libido and sexual activity. … Chemical castration is generally considered reversible when treatment is discontinued. [The irreversibility consists of possible permanent changes in bone density, not in libido and sexual activity]

This explanation gives us the reason why this will never work. Three months after the an injection is given, the police will have to produce the offender to get his next shot. Also, even if the police does manage to produce the person, the quality of the injected drug will have to be monitored. In fact, it is likely that introducing chemical castration will produce two sources of corruption: one in the quality and use of the chemicals themselves, the second in the monitoring of the location of the offender.

Given the record of the police in recording or investigating sex crimes, new legislation should concentrate on implementation rather than punishment. This is an old ploy of political parties: pretend to be strict on crime by increasing penalties, but undermine the process by making sure that implementation of laws remains weak.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

January 1, 2013 at 8:07 am

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