The U.S. territory of Guam may begin castrating sex offenders, following nine U.S. states in adopting versions of the practice in their laws.
Passed in September 2015, Guam's Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders Act permits the castration of pedophiles and other convicted sex offenders. It was signed into law by Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo on Sept. 8, reports KUAM.
The nine U.S. states implementing practices like these are California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin, but countries worldwide are also following suit.
Harsh punishments for sex offenders are becoming more common worldwide after an increase in high-profile child rape cases the past few years, says Don Grubin, professor of forensic psychiatry at Newcastle University in England.
"In a way, I liken it to cutting the hand off the thief," he said. "It's very symbolic."
"It's clear the drugs work," he added. "If you look at men, they do reduce sex drive drastically. They do reduce re-offending in the men."
Many scholars and activists criticize this practice, noting that it fails to address the real problem. They say it is also a form of torture, making it a violation of human rights.
“The causes of rape and the trauma of individuals are not best addressed by a temporary chemical reduction in sexual urges that is administered after the fact, after conviction of the crime,” Elizabeth Isa Bowman, who works for the Women and Gender Studies program at the University of Guam, wrote on Mumun Linahyan.
“They are addressed by examining, and equalizing, power structures in society … it would be better for us as a society to examine and seek to affect the underlying causes of rape before a rape is committed, rather than impose what I would view as a cruel and unusual punishment after a man has been convicted of rape,” Bowman added.
Moreover, many rights-groups are concerned as past cases show the practice exposes vulnerable people to castration, such as those who are “significantly” mentally retarded.
"In at least five cases, legally incapacitated offenders were surgically castrated," a 2009 report from the Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee stated. "In all of these instances, the court-appointed guardian had signed the consent form; in two cases, the guardians were mayors."