By Mike Cason
Gov. Kay Ivey is still reviewing a bill the Alabama Legislature passed that would require sex offenders whose victims are children to undergo a "chemical castration treatment" as a condition of parole, Deputy Press Secretary Lori Jhons said this morning.
Chemical castration treatment is defined in the bill as: "The receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, 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."
Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, sponsored the bill. Hurst has sponsored similar bills for years. It passed the Senate by a vote of 27-0 on Friday, the last day of the legislative session. The House had passed it earlier, by a vote of 72-16.
Hurst has said that children who are victims of sex offenses suffer lasting effects and that those who commit the crimes should be subject to long-term consequences, too.
Alabama would not be the first state to enact such a law.
California and Florida passed chemical castration laws in the 1990s.
Under Hurst's bill, HB379, courts would order a person convicted of a sex offense involving a person younger than 13 to undergo chemical castration treatment as a condition of parole. Offenders would have to begin the treatment not less than one month before release from prison and would continue receiving the treatment until the court determined it was no longer necessary.
The Alabama Department of Public Health would administer the treatment. The offender would pay for the treatment unless a court determined the offender was indigent.
The governor's office announced this afternoon that Ivey would hold a ceremonial bill signing on Thursday. The chemical castration bill was not one of the eight bills included.
Among the bills included in Thursday's ceremony are a bill to make changes at the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, including making the executive director an appointee of the governor; a bill to require backseat passengers in vehicles to wear seat belts; and a bill to require the ABC Board to regulate the sales of vaping products, prohibit sales to minors, and prohibit advertising near schools.
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