Thailand to allow chemical castration of sex offenders in exchange for reduced prison sentences

  • Late Monday, the Thai Senate approved a bill that would give some sex offenders the right to choose chemical castration to have their prison sentences reduced in return.
  • The bill still requires another house vote plus royal endorsement to be officially declared law.
  • If passed, sex offenders deemed at risk of re-offending can give consent to receive injections for a drug that reduces testosterone levels.
  • According to corrections department figures, there were 4,848 repeat sex-offenders out of the 16,413 released from Thai prisons between 2013 and 2020.

Late Monday, the Thai Senate approved a bill that would give some sex offenders the right to choose chemical castration to have their prison sentences reduced in return.

The legislation first passed in the lower house in March and was passed in the Senate on June 11 by 145 senators, with two abstentions.

The bill still requires another house vote plus royal endorsement to be officially declared law. 

If passed, sex offenders deemed at risk of re-offending can give consent to receive injections for a drug that reduces testosterone levels. They must also receive approval to use the drug by at least two specialists, psychiatric and medical.

According to corrections department figures, there were 4,848 repeat sex-offenders out of the 16,413 released from Thai prisons between 2013 and 2020. 

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin expressed that he wanted the law “to pass quickly,” adding, “I don’t want to see news about bad things happening to women again.”

Director of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation Jaded Chouwilai, whose organization addresses issues of sexual violence, explained that chemical castration would not effectively resolve sex crime. 

“Convicts should be rehabilitated by changing their mindset while in prison,” he explained. “To use punishment like execution or injected castration reinforces the idea that offenders can no longer be rehabilitated.”

If chemical castration is approved, Thailand would be joining a string of other countries to do so including some U.S. states, Poland, South Korea, Russia and Estonia. 

Featured Image via P Phongsakon / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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