Many years ago, I worked with a man whose sister had been raped by a teenaged neighbor when she was only 10 years old. Not only did his sister receive physical damage from the violent rape, but she sustained emotional damage that ruined her life. When she reached high school, she was still frightened of all boys and men. She didn’t date and could bring herself to attend any coed function. After school, she would go straight to her bedroom. When she went to college, the social pressures were too much for her and she ended up committing suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. He showed me a photo of her and she was a very pretty girl which is why so many guys wanted to date her.
Her story is not unique. Many childhood victims of sexual assault and rape suffer long term and even life-long emotional trauma from being victimized. Many have problems developing personal relationships and yet some adapt lead fairly normal lives but still carry emotional scars inside.
The question is often raised as to what is the proper punishment for sex offenders, especially those that molest, assault and rape children. Regardless of how long the offenders spend in prison, there is always the chance that they will repeat and violate another child after their release from prison.
Some experts say that the rate of recidivism is lower than most people think, but other reports indicate otherwise. In 2002, the Department of Justice released a study on recidivism of 272,111 prisoners released from prison in 15 states. Within 3 years from being released, 67.5% of prisoners had been rearrested and 46.9% were reconvicted. Of the 21,638 prisoners that had been charged with rape that were released from prison, 2,625 (12%) were rearrested within three years of their release. Another 22,778 prisoners were released after serving their sentences for other sexual assault. Of those 3,483 (15%) were rearrested within 3 years of their release.
Do you think these are acceptable odds? Are you willing to risk your son or daughter’s safety and purity on those odds and statistics?
Alabama State Representative Steve Hurst (R-Calhoun County) doesn’t think so which is why he has re-introduced HB 365 into the state legislature. The bill calls for mandatory castration of sex offenders over the age of 21 who victimized a child of 12 years of age or younger. According to the bill, the convicted sex offender or rapist would be surgically castrated before being released from prison.
Hurst defended his bill, saying:
“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime.”
“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said don’t you think this is inhumane? I asked them what’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through. If you want to talk about inhumane–that’s inhumane.”
“If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers.”
Naturally, the castration bill is controversial with many bleeding hearts saying it’s wrong to mutilate just because he did something wrong. Obviously they never went through the experience themselves or had anyone close to them be victimized. But let me ask them which is crueler; castrating a sex offender or allowing him to ruin the life and innocence of a young child?
Personally, I don’t believe that castration goes far enough. Much to popular belief, it’s still possible for a castrated man to obtain a partial or even full erection. It usually doesn’t last nearly as long, but it does last long enough for them to rape another child.
In 2007, then presidential candidate Mike Huckabee received a lot of negative publicity for helping to secure the parole of a convicted rapist, Wayne Dumond. He was released from prison in 1999 after being violently attacked and castrated ten years earlier. After his release on parole, Dumond went out and raped and killed one woman and was suspected of doing the same to a second woman. Being castrated didn’t stop Dumond from getting an erection and raping again.
IF (and I emphasize IF) I were to support any kind of legislation to keep sex offenders from offending again after being released from prison, the bill would need to have five provisions:
1) Lengthier prison sentences that would be mandated to be served in full. In other words, a rape conviction would result in a mandated 25 or more years sentence with no parole or probation.
2) In conjunction with #1, no parole or probation for sex offenders and rapists. (Personally I don’t believe in parole or probation as I’ve seen and heard of too many people being victimized by someone released on parole or probation.)
3) Remove the age provision to include victims of all ages as they all have their lives ruined.
4) No statute of limitations on sexual assault and rape cases. Why should a rapist walk away scot free after 7 years just because they didn’t catch him by then? Think of all the old rape cases that could now be solved by DNA that didn’t exist at the time of the crime, but now is useless because of the statute of limitations.
5) If castration was seriously considered, I would go further and mandate that all rapists and sexual offenders not only be castrated but would have his penis surgically removed, ensuring that he could never repeat his offense.
I know there are those of you who think this is cruel and inhuman, but I disagree. The crime they commit has life-long consequences for the victims so why shouldn’t the perpetrator also have a life-long consequence? Additionally, how many would be rapists and sex offenders would think twice before committing the crime if they knew that they would lose their manhood if convicted of the crime? I’m pretty sure the sexual crime rates would significantly drop if all five of my points became law.