Castration of Sex Offenders: Prisoners' Rights Versus Public Safety

Charles L Scott, Trent Holmberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Sexual victimization of children and adults is a significant treatment and public policy problem in the United States. To address increasing concerns regarding sex offender recidivism, nine states have passed legislation since 1996 authorizing the use of either chemical or physical castration. In most statutes, a repeat offender's eligibility for probation or parole is linked to acceptance of mandated hormonal therapy. Future legal challenges to this wave of legislation will probably include arguments that such laws violate constitutional rights guaranteed to the offender by the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. When the promise of freedom is predicated on mandated treatment, the clinician must carefully assess the validity of informed consent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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