POLITICS

Guam Passes Legislation To Chemically Castrate Convicted Sex Offenders

"It’s a stern, loud-and-clear message to any offenders out there that there’s going to be consequences."

Legislators in the U.S. territory of Guam have voted in favor of a measure to allow the Department of Corrections to begin chemically castrating pedophiles and other convicted sex offenders as a condition of their parole. 

The legislation, dubbed the Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders Act, narrowly passed by an 8-7 vote on Thursday.

"This is a good day for the island of Guam," said Sen. Brant McCreadie (R), who introduced the bill. "It’s an important message; it’s a message that we as a body will not support this type of crime any more. It’s a stern, loud-and-clear message to any offenders out there that there’s going to be consequences."

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), left, is pictured with Guam Sen. Brant McCreadie in 2005. McCreadie introduced the Ch
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), left, is pictured with Guam Sen. Brant McCreadie in 2005. McCreadie introduced the Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders Act in Guam.

Pending a signature from Gov. Eddie Calvo (R), the legislation will trigger a four-year pilot program in which sex offenders can be selected to undergo anti-androgen treatment. The treatment uses a hormone medication to control inappropriate sexual behavior by reducing a person's sex drive.

Vice Speaker Benjamin J. Cruz (D) expressed concern Wednesday that the bill could spark other legislation based on the eye-for-an-eye punishment model.

"Is there going to be a piece of legislation to cut out tongues, cut out hands?" he asked.

Nine U.S. states -- California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin -- have versions of chemical castration in their laws, as reported by CNN. Both California and Florida, for instance, require mandatory injections for repeat sex offenders and discretionary injections for first-time offenders, although the Florida law has only been invoked a few times since its passage in 1997. 

Don Grubin, a professor of forensic psychiatry at Newcastle University in England, called the controversial practice "symbolic."

"In a way, I liken it to cutting the hand off the thief," he previously told CNN. 

McCreadie said the new law would be a "first step in addressing Guam's rape problem." 

In 2013, Guam saw a rate of 64.2 reported rapes per 100,000 people -- more than double the national average of 25.2 per 100,000 people, according to USA Today. Of the 50 states, only Alaska had a higher rate -- 87.6 per 100,000 people.

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