After a bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Steve Hurst cleared through both houses of the Alabama state legislature in late May, it was signed into law by Republican Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday. She called it “a step toward protecting children in Alabama.”
The new law requires anyone “convicted of a sex offense against a child under the age of 13” to undergo “chemical castration” treatments beginning a month before release from jail.
Offenders must continue to take the medication “until a court deems the treatment is no longer necessary,” CNN reports.
Those impacted by the Alabama law are expected to pay for their own treatment but cannot be denied parole simply because they are unable to pay.
Various states already have a similar law on their books requiring convicted sex offenders to be administered drugs which remove interest in sex and “make it impossible for a person to perform sexual acts.”
As spelled out in Alabama’s version of the law, the criminals will be given “medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”
Anyone discontinuing the treatment without a court order will be returned to prison for violating parole.
Liberal critics call it a violation of human rights.
“It certainly presents serious issues about involuntary medical treatment, informed consent, the right to privacy, and cruel and unusual punishment. And, it is a return, if you will, to the dark ages,” complains Randall Marshall. He is the executive director of the ACLU’s Alabama chapter.
Marshall acknowledges that “This kind of punishment for crimes is something that has been around throughout history,” though, “we’ve gotten more enlightened in criminal justice.”
There is likely to be a challenge to the law in court, but that won’t happen until it’s “actually implemented and ordered by a judge.”