Oklahoma Lawmakers Consider Bill to Require Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders

An Oklahoma lawmaker proposed a bill that would make it legal for the state to allow some sex offenders to undergo chemical castration as punishment for their crimes.

State Rep. Rick West (R-Heavener) proposed the legislation on behalf of a constituent, the Associated Press reported.

The bill, House Bill 2543, would require violent male sex offenders to take medication that would lower their testosterone levels and sex drive as a condition for release.

Inmates convicted of a second offense would be ordered to take the drugs unless a court rules the treatment is ineffective or the convict opts for surgical castration.

Critics of the bill say the practice of castration could be unconstitutional.

“It’s hard to imagine this couldn’t be considered cruel or unusual,” American Civil Liberties Union Oklahoma chapter spokeswoman Allie Shinn said.

Seven states—including Georgia, California, Florida, Montana, Louisiana, Oregon, and Wisconsin—have similar laws on the books.

The Oklahoma legislature has considered similar bills calling for sex offender castration over the years. In 2002, the legislature proposed a bill allowing sex offenders to be chemically or surgically castrated that made it to the governor’s desk. Then-Gov. Frank Keating, a Republican, vetoed the measure and called it “silly.”


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