Texas Law Allows Surgical Castration for Child Sex Offenders

Eight states allow for chemical or surgical castration for sex offenders, including Texas.
Eight states allow for chemical or surgical castration for sex offenders, including Texas.

There has been much discussion in the news about the new chemical castration law just passed in Alabama. Alabama sex offenders convicted of molesting a child are mandated to undergo chemical castration as a condition of their parole. Otherwise, these offenders could serve out their remaining sentence in prison without castration.

A total of eight states allow for chemical or surgical castration for sex offenders, including Texas.

In 1997, Texas lawmakers passed a law regarding the surgical castration for child sex offenders. Unlike Alabama, the surgical castration in Texas is voluntary. The procedure is permanent and a decision to not have the procedure cannot be considered for parole purposes. 

Texas Gov. Code 501.061 states that repeat offenders of aggravated sexual assault of a child under age 14, sexual assault of a child under age 17, or indecency with a child under age 17 may elect for orchiectomy (the surgical removal of the testicles). Again, orchiectomy cannot be a condition of probation or parole and no official can consider an offender’s decision to get the surgery as a factor in whether he should be released on probation or parole.

There are several guidelines that must be met before the state approves surgical castration including:

  • Must have had at least two sex offense convictions;
  • Must be at least 21 years of age;
  • Must request the procedure in writing;
  • Must sign a statement admitting that he committed the offense for which there is a conviction; and
  • Must have a mental health evaluation.

Since the passage of the Texas law, only three men have undergone the surgical procedure. From personal experience in assisting clients, Lawyer X states he had no one even seriously consider the procedure.

Critics of the law question the effectiveness of surgical castration. There are testosterone boosting drugs available that can counteract the effects of castration and, in addition, it is widely accepted in professional data/reports that aggravated sexual assault has more to do with violence or psychological/psychiatric factors than it does with a person’s sex drive.

Regardless, it is expected that while Texas law is constitutional, due to it being a purely voluntary choice with no repercussions, the Alabama law will be struck down for a wide variety of reasons.

In Texas, since the option for castration is voluntary the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole cannot consider castration when voting on parole or require castration as a condition of parole if parole is granted.

A great resource for any offender who is eligible for parole is our book How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet. Written by Lawyer X, it provides everything you need to prepare and submit a complete Texas parole package. It includes strategies and tips that are applicable in many different parole situations.

How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet is available in ebook format as an instant download or in bundled form with an ebook and a printed book to be sent to an offender in prison or someone at home. Since we are an approved vendor there are no issues receiving our books at any of the Texas jails or prisons.

 

About the Author

Karren Bennett
Karren Bennett is a professional freelance writer covering all aspects of criminal justice and legal affairs. She is also a published author of several books for reluctant readers. Karren is a Texas native and a graduate of Northwestern State University. Learn more about how Karren's writings by visiting her website at KarrenBennett.com.