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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Ethics of Chemical Castration (Part One)

By John Danaher
Philosophical Disquisitions: Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
Originally posted December 15, 2013

Chemical castration has been legally recognised and utilised as a form of treatment for certain types of sex offender for many years. This is in the belief that it can significantly reduce recidivism rates amongst this class of offenders. Its usage varies around the world. Nine U.S. states currently allow for it, as well as several European countries. Typically, it is presented as an “option” to sex offenders who are currently serving prison sentences. The idea being that if they voluntarily submit to chemical castration they can serve a reduced sentence.

Obviously, this practice raises a number of empirical and ethical questions. Does chemical castration actually reduce recidivism? Is it ethically right to present a convicted sex offender with a choice between continued imprisonment or release with chemical castration? Is this not unduly coercive and autonomy-undermining?

The entire article is here.

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