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New legislation approved on June 3 allows for Louisiana judges to potentially order surgical castration for those who are convicted of sex crimes against young children. If Republican Governor Jeff Landry signs the legislative piece into law, it will set the state apart as the only one with such a punishment. 

The passed legislature will give courts the option to sentence convicted offenders to surgical castration if they have been found guilty of specific sex crimes, including “rape, incest and molestation against a child under 13.”

The decision is not completely unprecedented, as, for the past 16 years, Louisiana had allowed judges to order those convicted of the list of crimes to be chemically castrated. 

According to the Associated Press, “Chemical castration uses medications that block testosterone production to decrease sex drive. Surgical castration is a much more invasive procedure.”

Republican state Senator Valarie Hodges said, “This is a consequence. It’s a step over and beyond just going to jail and getting out.”

The bill was supported by both of the GOP chambers, with more pushback from Democrats than Republicans. 

The legislation’s author, Senator Regina Barrow, described it as an extra step in punishment for those who commit crimes and a deterrent for others to do the same.

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

She explained that the punishment would be left to the judges’ discretion and applied on a case-by-case basis.

The legislation stipulates that a licensed medical expert has to “determine whether that offender is an appropriate candidate.”

In response to those who call the new bill “cruel and unusual punishment” and too harsh for first-time offenders, Barrow responded: “For me, when I think about a child, one time is too many.”

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