In the Czech Republic sex offenders are punished with a simple operation. Doctors make an incision in a man’s scrotal sack and remove the offender’s testicles. The Council of Europe is saying that punishment is degrading and wants it to be off the books.
Over the past ten years at least 94 prisoners have been surgically castrated as part of their sentence on sex crimes. The Czech government says that this is a medical issue and that the surgery is only performed at the request of those prisoners themselves.
The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture has investigated the law. It says this is not a medical issue unless the genitalia is diseased or damaged.
“Surgical castration is no longer a generally accepted medical intervention in the treatment of sex-offenders,” the Council’s report said.
For thousands of years the act of surgical castration and outright castration has been part of world cultures when it comes to sex crimes. It seems to be somewhat affective. One survey in Germany from 1989 showed that when 104 voluntary castrates were questioned they had a 75% drop in sexual interest, libido, erection, and ejaculation. That survey though does not it reduces crimes though. In a 1989 Psychological Bulletin study concluded that, “the recidivism rate for treated offenders is not lower than that for untreated offenders; if anything, it tends to be higher.”
The Council of Europe’s report showed that the punishment is also being used on non-violent offenders like exhibitionists. Many prisoners request the surgery fearing that without it they will stay in jail for the rest of their lives. Also found were 5 cases where the offenders were legally incapacitated. In all the report contends that only two convicts came forward asking for castration spontaneously.
David Fathi, the head of Human Rights Watch’s U.S. Program says that rehabilitation of sex offenders is far more effective than castration. “There are no easy answers,” he says. “But castration does not work any more than cutting off hands treats kleptomania.”