Castration: A personal foul

Castration: A personal foul S~---:~! Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, VoL 9, No. 1, 1997 Editorial Two recent, celebrated cases in a large southern state have raised again an oft-repeated call to consider castration as one option in treating the sexual offender. Voices raised in support of castration emanate from otherwise intelligent individuals and ought to be answered thoughtfully rather than with the emotional rhetoric common in this battlefield (al- though emotion is not always ill informed). This is especially so now be- cause these two cases raise the castration issue from a novel perspective which defeats some of the easy arguments against surgery: In both cases, the offender requested castration. When a state imposes castration as punishment for, and prevention against, sexual crimes, opponents have readily argued the case of "cruel and unusual punishment," and have usually won (Heim & Hursch, 1979). Castration as part of a court-imposed sentence cannot be distinguished from corporal punishment and, as such, has lacked a serious support base in this country, despite the frenetic and vengeful clamor among cursory observers to "cut it off." However, when an offender asks (pleads, in the Texas cases) for castration, a different set of considerations must be taken Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

Castration: A personal foul

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Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright © 1997 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Psychology; Psychiatry; Criminology & Criminal Justice; Clinical Psychology; Sexual Behavior
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