Repeat pedophile offenders in Macedonia will now have to face chemical castration thanks to a new law adopted Wednesday by the country’s parliament.
The chemical castration will be conducted through drugs that reduce libido and sexual activity, said Social Policy Minister Dime Spasov. The procedures will occur in “specialized facilities every six months” on repeat offenders.
First-time offenders could be sentenced to between 15 and 40 years in prison or choose chemical castration in exchange for a reduced sentence, according to the new bill.
The Megjasi child protection group argued the castration penalty should be mandatory for first time offenders, not just repeat offenders.
Dragi Zmijanac, head of the Megjasi group, said imposing the procedure on first timers would prevent a convict from re-offending upon release.
Lawmakers voted on Monday to make penalties stricter for convicted pedophiles. The maximum sentence for a repeat offender was increased to life imprisonment and imposing chemical castration. The procedure would occur upon their release from prison.
Macedonia, located in southeastern Europe, became the first country in the Balkans to publish an online registry of convicted pedophiles in 2012. The registry includes pictures, names, addresses of offenders released from jail.
A total of 230 people have been convicted of sexual abuse of minors in the country since 2004.
Other countries that practice chemical castration include Russia, Denmark and Poland.
Chemical castration is not permanent, however, and the name is actually a bit misleading. A sex offender is not physically castrated; rather he or she receives injections of hormones that lowers testosterone levels and sex drive, according to CBS 8.
Once injections stop, testosterone levels rise again and the person’s sex drive returns to normal.
“If you look at 100 sexual offenders, it’s only a very small percentage that chemical castration is really effective,” Psychiatrist Michael Lardon told CBS 8.
Sources: Associated Press, NineMSN, CBS 8