Bobby Jindal Signs Chemical Castration Bill

Amazingly good news. And timely too, if you consider my recent posts “Clearing the Ghetto” and “Better Behavior through Chemistry.” Bobby Jindal has signed a bill allowing for the chemical castration of certain criminals. While the bill itself is aimed at reducing sexually-driven crimes with high recidivism, an obvious implication of the bill is improved genetic health of the population. Preventing criminals from breeding is an important part of preventing crime, because criminal behavior is heritable.

Jindal Signs Chemical Castration Bill » Outside The Beltway | OTB
Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal yesterday signed the “Sex Offender Chemical Castration Bill” hours after the Supreme Court overturned that state’s law allowing capital punishment for child rapists. It “provides that on a first conviction of aggravated rape, forcible rape, second degree sexual battery, aggravated incest, molestation of a juvenile when the victim is under the age of 13, or an aggravated crime against nature, the court may sentence the offender to undergo chemical castration. On a second conviction of the above listed crimes, the court is required to sentence the offender to undergo chemical castration.”

Ben Domenech thinks Jindal is sending a suggestive message to the Supreme Court. But, of course, the law had passed through the legislative process before the Court’s 5-4 ruling, so it’s merely a politically happy coincidence.

America deserves to be remain a great nation, and part of this of course is increasing our population. But increasing the quality of our population, improving our human capital, is important too. Weeding out criminals and sexuals predators is part of that process.

While we should always focus on eugenics and healing people, preventing harm and fighting dysgenics is important, too. Men can breed well into very old age, long after they are released from prison. Chemical castration can stop that.

11 thoughts on “Bobby Jindal Signs Chemical Castration Bill”

  1. Does it count as reductio ad Hitlerum if this really is exactly how the Holocaust got started? Slippery slope is a fallacy and time is usually better spent arguing the specifics of a particular proposal instead of projecting dystopia, but I’m not at all optimistic that society won’t go down the same road twice. My Lockean tendencies tell me “increasing the quality of our population” isn’t any concern for the state in the first place anyway, regardless of the great good certain scientists assure us of.

  2. Adam,

    Does it count as reductio ad Hitlerum if this really is exactly how the Holocaust got started?

    Yes.

    My Lockean tendencies tell me “increasing the quality of our population” isn’t any concern for the state in the first place anyway, regardless of the great good certain scientists assure us of.

    I assume therefore you are against parasite eradication, education, and other activities that increase “human capital”?

  3. What would you do if the Duke Lacross boys were convicted, chemically castrated, and then later proven innocent?

    I know it is such a hypothetical situation, but I am sure the concept of false conviction has ran through your mind at least once?

  4. Jeffrey,

    What would you do if the Duke Lacross boys were convicted, chemically castrated, and then later proven innocent?

    What would you do if the Duke Lacrosse boys were convicted, raped in prison, spent years in prison, and then later proven innocent?

    Criticisms against changes in policy only work when they do do not work as criticisms against existing policy.

  5. “What would you do if the Duke Lacrosse boys were convicted, raped in prison, spent years in prison, and then later proven innocent?

    Criticisms against changes in policy only work when they do do not work as criticisms against existing policy.”

    How am I, by default, protecting existing policy?

    Well, I don’t know about your policy, but I hear/read Jindal’s legislation does require an addition of jail time, so I don’t know if you could deem it amazing good news.

    In the case you demonstrated and the one I demonstrated, monetary compensation would be in order, only difference is one’s time prison ends with them relatively intact once proven innocent (I know you mentioned the default punishment of rape, but measures need to be taken against that that hopefully don’t involve physical mutilation or side effect inducing forced drugging), were as there isn’t an appeals court that can overturn the side effects of one’s drugging without more side effects.

    I am not entirely against the concept of chemical castration if it is offered as an alternative to jail time, but I tend to consider forced drugging and physical mutilation cruel and unusual. I am sure you will probably get into how vague that amendment is, and I will agreed, but that’s what I consider cruel and unusual.

  6. Jeffrey,

    demonstrated, monetary compensation would be in order, only difference is one’s time prison ends with them relatively intact

    Obviously not, if you count psychological, neurological, or physiological measures.

    I am not entirely against the concept of chemical castration if it is offered as an alternative to jail time, but I tend to consider forced drugging and physical mutilation cruel and unusual. I am sure you will probably get into how vague that amendment is, and I will agreed, but that’s what I consider cruel and unusual.

    The thing about standards based on emotional reactions is that emotional reactions change. Consider what is considered to be legally obscene now, compared to 50 years ago.

    This is especially relevant when soon we won’t have to talk about eugenics at all… we will talk about stem cell therapy [1]

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/07/03/stem-cell-therapy.html

  7. “The thing about standards based on emotional reactions is that emotional reactions change. Consider what is considered to be legally obscene now, compared to 50 years ago.”

    Oh, so my stance is simply a sheepish product of standards in emotional reaction?

  8. I have no idea.

    I was commenting on the soft, fuzzy, qualitative standard you invoke in your argument (“cruel and unusual”). Your motives for holding your beliefs are besides the point.

  9. On that theory of “what if”, then why should we even jail them. What if we jail them and then find out 10 years later they were innocent? The legal processes we go through make every effort to prove or disprove conviction. Let’s let it to the courts to make those decisions. This castration is supposed to serve as a deterrent. I’ll bet if it was a relative or friend of yours who had been a victim of one of these heinous crimes, you’d have a different opinion.

  10. The problem with this, and almost any eugenics, is that man is not responsible enough to play god. Or in a more mathematical way of speaking, genetics is a search problem. You search for a distribution of genes that is beneficial to the continuance of society, via natural selection. However, all search problems are subject to the “No Free Lunch Theorem.” That basically says that if you don’t know the nature of the terrain you’re optimizing over, then any method works just as well.

    This applies here because people cannot understand the environment of the world now, let alone in some thousands of years. Genes that might be maladaptive to society now might eventually mutate into something that is vital for life itself. Combine this with the fact that as you mentioned, the standards of the times prevail. This means that people will selectively remove more and more material from the gene pool, based upon what is unfavorable at the time. There is currently no mechanism to safely add, only to subtract. Isn’t the end result of this the same problems encountered with inbreeding? Homogeneity is fragility in evolution. So to start with, the premise of eugenics as anything but a medicinal treatment for a willing patient has very serious and dangerous implications (for the individual and for society).

    Eugenics aside, chemical castration as a useful punishment is debatable. In the US, it is not an approach that is in line with what is considered acceptable as a standard punishment. I would tend to think it falls under the cruel and unusual clause, if coerced. In many other countries, such as those that chop off the hands of thieves, it is very in line with their legal systems. From the US standpoint, I would have to say that forced chemical treatment of any sort that results in permanent damage to bodily organs is objectionable. It requires the assistance of medical professionals to assist, which violates the hypocratic oath- which applies only to the individual patient and not to their relation to society.

    So then, there is a medical objection to the practice on those grounds. Secondly there is a practical objection similar to the death penalty. For any irreversible and discrete punishment such as the death penalty, one must be allotted sufficient opportunity to run through appeals. An unwilling prisoner would very likely exhaust all their appeals before undergoing castration. This places an additional burden on the legal system with little obvious benefit, since I have yet to see a study that shows that punishments of any degree of severity actually have significant impacts on sex crime prevalence.

    While punishments can reduce recidivism, they have not been shown to decrease risk of offending before capture. This seems to indicate that the failure of the legal system is not about insufficient punishment but on its ability to identify offenders. Psychological study on punishment tends to indicate that increasing the strength of punishment does not generally lead to someone following the rules, but finding more effective ways around them.

    Finally, any attempt to compare a what-if for an irreversible physical treatment versus incarceration simply does not make sense. Incarceration is a continuous process, with a specified beginning and end. It has long term effects, but that does not make it immediately comparable to anything else that has long term effects. Castration is discrete. If you want to make a comparison with temporary chemical castration, that is slightly more valid- but since there is little to indicate complete safety in chemical castration then that simply reduces things to a probablistic issue of the same discrete event.

  11. For a good example of why increased punishments don’t get increased results, the drug war is a great example. You can’t beat an endemic societal problem with harsher punishments, any more than you can wipe out a cockroach infestation by buying bigger boots. Punishing makes us feel better about the world, but would you rather be good at punishing or good at preventing crimes in the first place?

    So to conclude- chemical castration is a red herring. It’s a nice sound byte. It is not a solution, any more than lobotomies were a solution to psychosis. Early warning-sign detection and rapid follow up are solutions. But isn’t it funny how people are willing to have millions spent fighting to castrate rapists rather than spend that money increasing mental health services to help detect at-risk victims and offenders.

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