September 4th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

South Korea looks to expand chemical castration law, state-run media report

South Korea is considering the expansion of  its chemical castration law to those who have sexually assaulted victims as old as 19, according to the country's state-run news agency.

It would expand the reach of a recently passed law that focused on victims 16 and under.

"Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin reported the measures to President Lee Myung-bak during a Cabinet meeting amid growing calls for tougher punishment for sex offenders and stronger preventive measures following last week's shocking kidnapping and rape of a seven-year-old girl," Yonhap reported.

Lee said he would consider many measures to try to combat the brutal sex assaults that have occurred in the country, calling the most recent attack "a crime that could only have been perpetrated by a man with the mind of a beast."

South Korea first used chemical castration in May on a sex offender who had been convicted of four counts of rape or attempted rape on young girls since the 1980s, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The term "chemical castration" is a misnomer because the practice involves medication rather than the surgical removal of sex organs. Its effectiveness stops when treatment is discontinued.

The change in law, if passed, is one of several measures proposed to fight sexual assault. The government is considering disclosing on a government website the home addresses of those who have sexually assaulted minors. Presently, the names are made public only at local levels. The government is also looking at retroactively applying an electronic monitoring law to those who were convicted before the 2010 law which requires sex offenders to be monitored, according to Yonhap.

The process of chemical castration has been used in various forms, either forcibly as a sentence or as a way for offenders to reduce their jail time in several countries including Argentina, Australia, Estonia, Israel, Moldova, New Zealand, Poland and Russia.

If the new measure is enacted, it would be the first to allow forcible chemical castration for those who have sexually assaulted someone as old as 19. Most of the countries using the process impose the punishment in cases with younger victims.

A version of chemical castration is also on the books in at least nine U.S. states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.

The process is controversial. Supporters say it can help curb an offender's urges, likely reducing his or her likelihood of committing a similar crime. But studies have shown that the process may not work for everyone and could have  side effects. Some critics have said it also poses constitutional issues, at least in the U.S.

One paper, titled "Incapacitation through Maiming: Chemical Castration, the Eighth Amendment, and the Denial of Human Dignity," written by University of Florida law professor John F. Stinneford, argues that in addition to those concerns, the process may be more of a mental deterrent than it is a concrete, physical one.

"The very purpose of chemical castration is to exert control over the mind of the offender by rendering it incapable of experiencing sexual desire. The procedure is sometimes justified on the ground that some sex offenders are pedophiles who experience deviant (and often unwanted) sexual desire for children, and that for this group of offenders, chemical castration is a beneficial form of medical treatment," the paper says. "This argument fails, however, because the vast majority of sex offenders covered by the chemical castration laws do not have any sexual disorder, much less pedophilia. Many of these offenders may be incorrigibly bad, dangerous or antisocial people, but they do not suffer from a sexual sickness.

"Thus, subjecting them to chemical castration is not even arguably medically appropriate. Rather, it merely replaces the stone walls and iron bars of a traditional prison (where many sex offenders doubtless belong) with a less expensive but more degrading prison for the mind."

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. J.

    Interesting. CNN says that it doesn't pre-screen, yet my comment didn't load. My comment on another blog post loaded fine.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.

      Huh. The above loaded fine as well. Yet, when I try to reload my original comment, it says I'm loading duplicate content.

      September 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sivick

    Shoot them in the back of the head and be done with it.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinAir

      I second that

      September 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmkzoo

      Can't do that.

      It's no different than forcing someone to actually work for welfare or be paid based on what they do rather than how long they have been doing it poorly.

      If you wanna see exactly where it comes from, watch the acceptance speach on Thursday night.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • OneTwo


      September 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duh

      If only those darn forefathers hadn't passed that darn bill of rights, we could shoot people for those crimes here in the US! Drat!

      September 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Which head did you have in mind?

      September 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BigSam

    Child rapist should be immediately executed rapist should be physically castrated not chemically wich gives them choice

    September 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlin

      And those people who were falsely convicted of crimes? What of them?

      What are you going to do.. staple a set back on them and say sorry?

      Physical damage such as this can not be undone and until our justice system improves its track record of false conviction ( and there have been thousands) then I will not support this or the death penalty.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • sp765uubox

      "Physical damage such as this can not be undone"

      Non-physical damage cannot be undone either. We can't give people back the years that they spend in prison or undo the damage that time caused to their families, careers, or relationships. At best there is financial compensation which would be effectively the same case for physical damage.

      September 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ffacts

    in general, the U.S. is way to easy on the most violent criminals.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Law and order

    They should be hung, then shot, then castrated. That would teach them a lesson. Then MAYBE put them on trial if it's not too much trouble.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamesBond

      Because obviously innocent people wouldnt be subjected to punishment for crimes they didnt commit. Moron.

      September 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      I DO wish there was a sarcasm font. Then JamesBond wouldn't be fooled.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Z_2k

    "Thus, subjecting them to chemical castration is not even arguably medically appropriate."

    My understanding was that chemical castration was voluntary; something that the convicted perpetrator agree's to in exchange for a lesser sentence. Has anyone in the last 25 years been forced to have chemical castration ?

    September 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alien8

      Make them listen to Chemical Castration's third album, the one where the guitar player quit halfway through and they replaced him with a high school girl. Tell them if they are ever arrested again, they will hear the first two albums, then release them and watch them run away as fast as they can.

      September 5, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. dd

    Chemical castration should probably be the punishment for the second conviction in any US court. Chicago is experiencing 10 shootings per day, one plus murder per day, one innocent child murdered per week at the hands of repeat offender drug gang members. What can Chicago do? Obama won't stop the drug flow from Mexico. Emanuel supports Obama. Blacks in Chicago will experience the violence of Syria because of Obama's policies. If the President of the US was supporting the killers of kids in my neighborhood, I would campaign to castrate him!

    September 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Chicago has been violent for many years.
      Gang wars have been going on there, and have been getting expotentially more violent, since the fifties...
      We are talking about two complete and different scenarios here.
      Chemical castration in SK has not one jot to do with Obama; but get that jab in, anyway.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • vatoloke

      Hey, "There are no gangsters in Chicago." Al Capone

      September 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • CaptainObviousMan

      "will experience the violence of Syria"

      – Per capita, Syria's death toll is presently 10x that of Chicago. Chicago also doesn't have to deal with airstrikes or artillery leveling whole neighborhoods. Way to exaggerate.

      "What can Chicago do?"

      – What do you expect Obama to do that Chicago could not do on its own?

      "Obama won't stop the drug flow from Mexico."

      – It is still illegal, and still enforced. No one else has fully halted drugs either. In fact the war on drugs could largely be considered a failure under any president.

      "If the President of the US was supporting the killers of kids in my neighborhood, I would campaign to castrate him!"

      – Good thing Obama isn't supporting killers of kids in any US neighborhoods then, right?

      September 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bubba™

    A few of them get control of themselves and never do it again; otherwise we WOULD shoot them on first offense. It's those few who can save themselves that the laws are about. It might even be safer to shoot them all on first offense. Ayn Rand would say we should. Jesus would say to give them a chance. Me, personally? Shoot 'em and don't take the chance, but I am a mean old man.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Paul

    They should have their heads physically castrated from their shoulders.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colby

      Arg, where's the "like" button when you need it...

      September 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. saywhat

    Not saying I have a problem doing whatever they want to do to this man in particular, but using a broad brush and expanding a law to include victims up to 19 isn't going to help. What this man did was already illegal and the punishment already was an option for his crime. Yet the crime still was committed. Harsher penalties are fine if the punishment fits the crime, and indeed in this case it does. But that shouldn't be anyone's goal. The goal should be to decrease the amount of these crimes. Harsh punishment including chemical castration has proven time and time again to do nothing toward deterring the next offender. The reason is because $ex isn't the primary motive. It is power over the victim.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Punishing the offender after the does little to deter, the crime has already been commited @ saywhat. It's all about an extreme punishment for the one that knows of the crime yet does nor says anything that you'll see these numbers free-fall.

      September 5, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. HELP

    I believe this should be used here in the U.S. as well. Good measure.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CzGuy

    In my country we castrate them mechanically.
    That means with knife, all of about 100 prisoners submited to this procedure willingly.
    And some western media call us barbarians for this.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakov

      In Soviet Russia, chemical castrates YOU!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©


    September 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Don

    Typical lib mental midget can't articulate a meaningful rebuttal to refute points challenging his perspective so he alternately wishes violence upon those who disagree with him. Yak it up, beavis & butthead. You disgrace yourselves if you had enough sense to realize it.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clint Eastwood

      Don, are you talking to my chair?

      September 6, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Steve T

    Chemical Castration for kidnapping and raping a 7 year old. How about hanged, drawn and quartered for raping a 7 year old.

    September 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
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