Sex offenders could be chemically castrated in Thailand after change in law

Sex offenders in Thailand are to be offered chemical castration treatment in a bid to reduce reoffending.

Chemical castration is a medical procedure in which a drug, most commonly leuprolide acetate, is injected into the subject’s bloodstream in order to reduce sexual desire.

The controversial treatment already used in a number of countries including India, South Korea, Australia and several states of the US.

In 2012, the Mirror reported that around a hundred of Britain’s most dangerous paedophiles had undergone chemical castration in exchange for a reduction of their sentences.

Criminal psychiatrist Professor Don Grubin, who co-ordinated the programme, said “We know the treatment works to reduce sexual arousal and fantasies.”

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Lynn Saunders, governor of HMP Whatton, Nottinghamshire – Europe's largest sex offender rehabilitation centre – said last year that chemical castration is the only possible option for certain types of prisoner.

She said: “We're trying to stop the people we lock up from doing this again.

“That's the key thing for me. The majority of them will get out and will possibly be living next door to you or me. That's my bottom line. We need to make sure they are as safe as possible to live next door to you or me or your children."

Evidence from Scandinavia suggests chemical castration, which temporarily has the same effect as physical castration, can cut rates of reoffending from 40% to 5%.

Of around 16,000 sex offenders released from Thai prisons between 2013 and 2020, just under 5,000 of them, according to corrections department figures.

Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said earlier today that he believed the treatment would drastically reduce reoffending figures: “I want this law to pass quickly,” he told reporters, “I don't want to see news about bad things happening to women again."

But the treatment is controversial and Jaded Chouwilai, director of the anti-crime Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, said use of chemical castration would not tackle sex crime.

“Convicts should be rehabilitated by changing their mindset while in prison,” he said.

“To use punishment like execution or injected castration reinforces the idea that offender can no longer be rehabilitated."

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