Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, Sex Criminals, sex crimes

Louisiana Governor Set To Decide If Surgical Castration For Convicted Sex Criminals Will Become Law

Is this taking things too far?

Surgical castration for criminals convicted of sex crimes against children could become a law in Louisiana if Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signs the bill.

If so, Louisiana would be the state to implement such punishment.

Under a bill passed by a GOP-controlled legislature on June 3, judges would be allowed to give the sentencing option to have a criminal surgically castrated if the person is convicted of aggravated sex crimes, including rape, incest, and molestation against a child under 13 years of age. 

States including Louisiana, California, Florida, and Texas already have legislation in place for chemical castration using medications to block testosterone to decrease sex drives—but can select surgical if preferred. No state allows judges to proceed with surgical castration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Republican state Sen. Valarie Hodges called the move a “consequence.” “It’s a step over and beyond just going to jail and getting out,” she said. 

The bill was met with vast bipartisan support, with some Democratic opposition. Some called the move “cruel and unusual punishment” and even questioned its effectiveness if implemented.

Sen. Regina Barrow, a Democrat, wrote the legislation. According to NBC News, Barrow said the punishment would just be an extra step for what she described as “horrific crimes” and hopes the legislation will be looked at as a warning for offenses against children.

“We are talking about babies who are being violated by somebody,” Barrow said. “That is inexcusable.”

In the Louisiana prison system, there are 2,224 people behind bars for sex crimes against children under 13. Landry signs the bill, the measure will only be applied to persons convicted of the crimes that happened on or after Aug. 1, 2024.  

For close to 20 years, Louisiana judges have been allowed to sentence convicted sex criminals to chemical castration, but it has only been used on rare occasions. With the sentencing measure being in place since 2008, officials found the punishment was only handed down in one or two cases between 2010 and 2019. 

If the bill becomes law, the procedure must be examined by a medical expert to “determine whether that offender is an appropriate candidate” before it’s carried out. If the offender is deemed a proper candidate and “fails to appear or refuses to undergo” after a judge’s orders, the offender could face a “failure to comply” charge, with an additional three to five years in prison. 

The bill also adds women to the list of offenders, although castration is often associated with men. Barrow highlighted how imposing the punishment would be used in individual cases and at the discretion of judges.