National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Oct 8 2008 at 8:35:16 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine
GayNZ Logo & Link
Wednesday 08 October 2008


Proclamations of the Red Queen

30th April 2008

Capillgate: Would “Castrating Paedophiles” Work?

Posted by: Craig Young

During debates about the appropriate strategies to treat paedophiles, one periodically hears the populist catchphrase about how nice it would be to premanently surgically or chemically remove the paedophile’s ability to reoffend through chemical or surgical castration.

However, does this strategy of preventing recidivism (repeat offending) actually work in this context? And shouldn’t gay men in particular be very wary about voicing such sentiments?

One case in point is the fate of Alan Turing (1912-1954), a brilliant British gay wartime mathematician, computer scientist and cryptoanalyst, whose work was instrumental in breaking Nazi military ciphers and assisting the Allied cause through providing advance warning of troop, aircraft and naval movements so that Allied military forces and civilian populations might benefit from that foreknowledge.

Turing could have accomplished so much more, if it wasn’t for Section 11 of the Criminal Offenses Amendment Act 1885, which was the same ‘gross indecency” clause used to convict Oscar Wilde in the late nineteenth century. In 1952, Turing was having a quite consensual relationship with one Arnold Murray (19), a burglar. After Murray retaliated after police apprehended him for theft from Turing,  Turing was tried under this ridiculous legislation, and offered ‘chemical castration’, leading to the growth of enlarged breasts and his eventual suicide after ingesting cyanide on 8 June, 1954.

Today, several statues, commemorative buildings, plaques and research institutes named for this pioneering gay mathematician and computer scientist commemorate his achievements in science and mathematics. As with the abuse of electroconvulsive therapy and inappropriate psychiatric drugs against lesbians and gay men in psychiatric institutions in the fifties and sixties, this abusive medical treatment is tegarded with horror and revulsion, given decriminalisation and destigmatisation of male homosexuality.

However, there have been instances where Depo Provera, a chemical contraceptive used for straight women, has been administered to US rapists and pedophiles in California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana and Montana. Depo Provera needs to be administered in high dosages to be effective on its male recipients, which is where problems arise.

Granted, as  Marc Alexander, a former United Future MP and Sensible Sentencing Trust noted in an excellent review article for the latter organisation, pedophile and sexual offender recidivism is much lower in the case of chemical and surgical castration, although surgical castration is more effective than chemical castration, where medication non-compliance may affect recidivism rates. Moreover, even surgical castration may not inevitably lead to erectile dysfunction, which may mean that these predators still constitute a risk to women (or men) and children. If the purpose of chemical or surgical castration is risk aversion and child protection, then one must acknowledge that the research literature shows ambivalent outcomes. 

However much I, personally, wish otherwise.

Recommended:

David Leavitt: The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer: New York: WW Norton: 2006.

Marc Alexander: “Sex Offenders, Recidivism and Chemical Castration”: http://www.safe-nz.org.nz/Articles/sexoffenders.htm

Norra Macready: “Chemical Castration for Paedophiles Approved” British Medical Journal: 313: 707: (02.09.1996).

Larry Spalding: “Florida’s 1997 Chemical Castration Law: Back to the Dark Ages?”
Florida State University Law Review: 1998.

Linda Weinberger, Shoba Sreenirosen, Thomas Garrick and Osran Haley: “The Impact of Surgical Castration on Sexual Recidivism Risk Amongst Sexually Violent Predatory Offenders” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law: 38:1: 16-36 (2005).

Tags: Politics · Religion

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 chemical castration : scriptbest // Jun 20, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    […] Capillgate: Would Castrating Paedophiles Work?After Murray retaliated after police apprehended him for theft from Turing, Turing was tried under this ridiculous legislation, and offered chemical castration, leading to the growth of enlarged breasts and his eventual suicide after … Tags: State Duma, Chemical Castration, Depoprovera, Paedophiles, Sex Offender, Depo Provera, Castrated, Anatoly, Russian Mp, Sex Offendors, Justice Minister, Punishment For Crimes, Hind Sight, Young Sex, Sex Crimes […]

  • 2 chemical castration | Lasts information // Jun 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    […] Capillgate: Would “Castrating Paedophiles” Work?After Murray retaliated after police apprehended him for theft from Turing, Turing was tried under this ridiculous legislation, and offered ‘chemical castration’, leading to the growth of enlarged breasts and his eventual suicide after …Proclamations of the Red Queen - http://gaynz.com/blog/redqueen […]

  • 3 chemical castration | Hottags // Jun 20, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    […] Capillgate: Would “Castrating Paedophiles” Work?After Murray retaliated after police apprehended him for theft from Turing, Turing was tried under this ridiculous legislation, and offered ‘chemical castration’, leading to the growth of enlarged breasts and his eventual suicide after …Proclamations of the Red Queen - http://gaynz.com/blog/redqueen pay per click advertising […]

  • 4 sex offenders and depo provera treatment // Jul 10, 2008 at 10:52 am

    […] periodically hears the populist catchphrase about how nice it would be to premanently surgically orhttp://gaynz.com/blog/redqueen/archives/162CHEMICAL CASTRATION SEX OFFENDERS term papers, research papers on …How chemical castration (Depo […]

Leave a Comment

(Required)

(Required but not displayed)