The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Castration as a method of stopping sexual deviants?

Every so often, someone comes along with the theory that sexual offenders can be fixed with this or that treatment. One of the most supported theories, but least used is the idea of castration.

On first glance, the idea would seem to be reasonable. After all, if you remove the ability of an offender to get sexual gratification from his actions, it would seem that he'd be less likely to engage in them. If you cut off (no pun intended) the ability of a sexual predator to perform, then it would seem to follow that the offender would lose interest in carrying on his demented desires. But that's only at first glance.

A second look however, is a little more insightful. I've talked about castration and it's use as a deterrent for sexual offenders committing other sex related crimes. And I've openly discussed how I believe that while it sounds good in theory, it will fail in practice.

Kevin Reilly fought for freedom based upon the theory that he was no longer a danger to society because he'd been castrated, Bobby James Allen won a reduced sentence on the condition that he have the operation preformed, and Bruce Coltfelter used his castration in an attempt to be released from a state hospital.

In each of these cases, one factor was conveniently left out by the offender, and their defense team. Sex crimes, for the most part, are not committed in a moment of heat. They are not usually crimes of passion in which the abuser is intent on fulfilling nothing more than a sexual desire. There is more to sexual crimes than just sex. The crime, whether it's raping a stranger seen walking down the street, or preying upon a child who lives next door- actually has little to do with sex, and more to do with the emotion high derived from the act itself. Rape is about power, control, humiliation, imposing pain and suffering, anger- but rarely about sex. The offender has the demented need to dominate, to torture, to completely possess the mind of the victim. Because castration- either by surgically removing testicles, or chemically reducing the amount of testosterone- deals only with the sexual ability/desire, it fails to offer a intelligent solution to a problem that isn't really about sex at all. Until a way is found to block the overwhelming desires to abuse another person in such a horrendous manner- there is no reasonable solution to the problem that would promise to keep society safe while 'curing' the offender in question.

Which bring us to this:

A convicted child molester whose campaign to be castrated spurred Texas to become the only state to allow the procedure for prison convicts is back behind bars, accused of possessing sexually explicit materials, authorities said Wednesday.

Larry Don McQuay, 44, was jailed in San Antonio after parole officials said they caught him early last month with "cards depicting individuals having sex, as well as (cards of) nude women" — a violation of the rules under which he was freed from prison three years ago, said Michelle Lyons, chief spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

McQuay became infamous for serving 8 years of a 20 year sentence after convincing the courts that castration was a answer to his continued deviant behavior.
At the time, he insisted that the castration would stop his sexual urges for children; psychologists and doctors disagreed over whether the procedure would be effective.

In 1997, the Texas Legislature made voluntary castration available to convicts. Since then, three convicts have voluntarily undergone the procedure, including McQuay, who was surgically castrated a year before his release on parole.

Lyons said McQuay's release from prison before his sentence ended was because "his good time credits and his flat time (physical time behind bars) equaled the length of his sentence."