Texas Law Allows Surgical Castration for Child Sex Offenders
There has been much discussion in the news about the new chemical castration law just passed in Alabama. Sex offender convicted of molesting a child are mandated to have 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.
In 1997, Texas lawmakers passed a law regarding surgical castration for child sex offenders. However, under the Texas law, surgical castration is voluntary and permanent but 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). However, 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
- At least 21 years of age
- Request the procedure in writing
- Sign a statement admitting that he or she committed the offense for which there is a conviction
- Must have a mental health evaluation
Since the passage of the law in Texas, 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.
Unlike Alabama, it is against the law for the Texas Parole Board to require castration as a condition of their parole.
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.