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Article posted Dec 13 2007, 3:17 PM Category: Brave New World Source: ABC News Print

ABC News Weighs "Pros and Cons" of Castrating Rapists

By RUSSELL GOLDMAN

Though leading the polls in Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has received additional and unwanted attention in recent days for his role in pardoning a convicted rapist who went on to rape and murder at least one and possibly two women after his release in 1999.

Wayne Dumond was convicted in 1984 of raping a teenaged girl who was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas. While out on bail and awaiting trial, Dumond claimed men in black ski masks broke into his home and forcibly castrated him. The authorities claimed Dumond cut off his own testicles in an attempt to curry favor with the jury. He was sentenced to life in prison, and his testicles ended up in a jar on the desk of a controversial Arkansas sheriff.

Testosterone levels and consequently men's libidos can be lowered through surgically removing a man's testicles or treating him with drugs. For that reason, castration has been used by psychiatrists and mandated by various states to treat some sex offenders.

Castration -- physical or chemical -- however, does not guarantee that a man will forever be sexually dysfunctional or that he won't again commit rape.

"You can be castrated and still have an intact penis," said Dr. Andrew Kramer, a urologist at the University of Maryland. "If he was castrated, his testosterone levels would drop significantly but not all the way to zero. Most testosterone is produced by the testes, but some is made in the adrenal glands above the kidneys."

Moreover, men who take testosterone, through pills or injections, could easily restore natural levels of the hormone allowing them to have sex despite their lack of testicles.

Some 65 percent of castrated sex offenders reported a drop in sex drive, according to a German study conducted in the 1960s, but 18 percent reported being able to function regularly 20 years after the procedure.

A 2005 study printed in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychology and the Law, found that between zero and 10 percent of sexual offenders who are surgically castrated repeat their crime.

That rate of recidivism in surgically castrated offenders is about the same as it for all sex offenders. According to the Department of Justice, 5.3 percent of all sex offenders were rearrested for another sex crime within three years of their release.

Treatment of sex offenders by castration, usually through the use of prescription drugs, is common throughout the United States, though less than a dozen states legally require repeat offenders to be treated chemically.

At least one state, Florida, allows sentenced prisoners to choose surgical castration in lieu of prison time. In September, confessed rapist James Allen, 35, chose to be castrated to obtain a reduced sentence.

Forensic psychiatrists are split as to whether chemical castration is a successful treatment for sex offenders.

"Castration -- chemical or surgical -- is not a particularly good way of responding to sexual behavior," said William Samek, a forensic psychologist and director of the Florida Sexual Abuse Treatment Program.

"Castrated offenders can and do offend again. There are much less intrusive ways to get sexual offenders not to repeat. & Castration is not particularly effective and the whole practice is inhumane. It is more Middle Ages and Middle Eastern than it is modern or American. & It is comparable to cutting off the hands of thieves or drunk drivers, both of whom are more likely to reoffend." he said.

Recidivism rates are lower for sex offenders than any other crime. Drug offenders are 10 times more likely to be rearrested for a similar crime, according to Justice Department statistics.

According to Samek, rape and sexual abuse are generally symptoms of a personality disorder. The recidivism rate is low because the experience of arrest and prison is usually enough to keep them from committing the crime again. Through traditional talk therapy, many sex offenders can keep their impulses under control, he said.

But others disagree, and see the use of drugs like Depo-Provera, a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone, which counters the effects of testosterone as an essential tool in curbing the violent sexual desires of rapists.

"A subset of rapists is driven by abnormal sexual cravings, and lowering their testosterone diminishes those cravings," said Dr. Fred Berlin, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

"This is a very heterogeneous group of individuals, and a subgroup is driven by sadistic cravings. They are likely to be repeat offenders. Talk therapy cannot adequately help them and drugs can in those cases be helpful. & If we can make our communities safer, why wouldn't we?"





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Comments 1 - 6 of 6 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
dave

Posted: Dec 15 2007, 6:56 PM

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Evidence has been trying to find a court of justice in the US in relation to the CIA torturing people's genitals, anally raping them and doing this at will and in secret. The fact that defence lawyers have not been successful in finding a court of justice in America raises questions as to whether this an appropriate venue for such matters.

As for rapists, I haven't given the matter much thought but I did read some extensive research on sexual problems that develop and the common causes. Although the research was undertaken for political purposes so the state could seize control of the Internet and have the right to censure it, the findings from analysis of sex offenders was that those that committed serious offences had been exposed to adult material later in life and less so. So conclusive was the study that the research indicated considering withdrawal of all forms of censorship.

I can't agree with this article. Consider murder, if the state were to be allowed to commit murder as a sentence for murder as applies in the US, then the state are murderers in the first degree. Further, as there are credible witnesses to connect George Bush with child sex offences constituting rape under US law, there seems no basis to discuss the issue as the person passing these laws has cases to answer for in relation to these very offences.
xtiml

Posted: Dec 18 2007, 11:32 PM

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71104 if you castrate em yu better killem afterwards.hate to see a disgruntled testeless man about town roaming.sides they can still do it if done aftetr maturity. so just killem. in the open shut cases soem are innocent and railroADED, NOT MANY.
xtiml

Posted: Dec 18 2007, 11:34 PM

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71104 GOOD POINTS. AS THE LAW IS SELECTIVE INDEED.
Ellan

Posted: Jan 06 2013, 8:20 PM

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124148 Castration as a treatment for sex offenders perpetuates the idea that me are ruled by their hormones and can't contain themselves when testosterone fueled sexual urges take over their brain.
Which is probably bullshit.
Men who rape have psychological problems, not hormonal ones, and should therefore be given psychological treatment, not hormonal treatment.
Anonymous

Posted: May 17 2013, 2:46 AM

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6894 Given the fact that prosecutors win the vast majority of ALL their cases (whether or not the person is actually guilty) I don't care if it's a "typical" offender, or sex offender... NO ONE SHOULD BE CASTRATED, EITHER PHYSICALLY OR OTHERWISE... CHEMICAL CASTRATION (and other forms of cruel and unusual pubishment) IS F-ING DISGUSTING (!!!!!), I don't care if the person is innocent and convicted wrongfully, or if they've committed 5x10^100 violent, aggravated, criminal, malacious, maniac forcible rapes (or any other crime, and/or sex offense).
Anonymous

Posted: May 17 2013, 2:47 AM

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6894 castration is a violation of the 8th amendment! it's cruel and unusual!
Comments 1 - 6 of 6 Page 1 of 1


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