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Chemical Castration Now Federal Punishment in Poland

December 1, 2009

BBC News Report on Poland’s move to mandate chemical castration for sex offenders

The president of Poland last week signed into law a bill mandating chemical castration as a punishment for those convicted of raping children or immediate family members. While chemical castration is becoming increasingly common as an alternative punishment, this is the first instance of a federal mandate. 

Chemical castration is the administration of drugs meant to reduce or eliminate the sex drive. This process does not physically remove the sexual organs, nor does it sterilize the patient. The chemicals employed are generally designed to counteract the effects of androgen, and the chemicals used include some (female) birth control hormones (such as Depo Provera, an injected contraceptive). 

Other countries, including France (after a series of violent sex crimes perpetrated by repeat offenders) and Korea (in the wake of a crime perpetrated by an older man towards an 8-year-old girl), are currently debating the possibility of enacting similar laws. Several US states, including Florida, Iowa, and California, have laws allowing chemical castration as a sentence, and in some cases mandating it. 

While human rights groups generally denounce mandating the treatment as cruel and unusual, the BBC also published an account from a chemically castrated former sex offender, who speaks positively of his experience with the drugs. As Open mentioned in last year’s news briefs, chemical castration has become increasingly common in some countries as an “opt-out” alternative to continued prison time, though it is argued that reception of this treatment is not always as “voluntary” as it is made to sound.

Real benefits? For some, yes. Human rights violation? For some, yes. Reminiscent of “A Clockwork Orange”? Probably.  We’ll see if this becomes a trend. 


On that less-than-cheery note, hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, and good luck to all Rice students with finals coming up!

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