February 7, 2006
A bill in Richmond has people on both sides of the fence. Augusta County Senator Emmett Hanger is proposing using surgical castration as a treatment option for repeat sex offenders.
"We're talking about people that are a threat to the children and others in society and to themselves, so I think we want to do something more permanent," said Hanger.
Under the bill, sex offenders could choose castration as part of a conditional release from prison. Hanger says it's a simple, inexpensive procedure that would strip the most violent rapists and pedophiles of sexual impulses. But some clinical psychologists say it would not treat the mental aspect.
"That doesn't solve the problem of what's wrong with their head, what's going on in their minds, what's they're thought process, castration does nothing with that," said Dr. Dwight Colley, a clinical psychologist.
About 75 percent of Dr. Colley's patients are sex offenders. The majority of whom he believes can be treated with good psychological counseling. Castration he says is not an option he thinks his clients would choose.
"It's about as demeaning I think as one could get, it takes the essence of manhood away from them so therefore I don't think they would do it," said Colley.
Still, Hanger's determined to bring attention to the issue, whether the bill passes or not.
"It would be tough to get the number of votes necessary to put it in to law this year but if I can get some study focused on this and basically keep the bill alive and perhaps carry it over, I would consider that a victory," said Hanger
Currently, at least eight other states have laws allowing chemical castration for certain sex offenders.