Louisiana legislation to castrate sex offenders could become law by August

A Louisiana bill that would allow judges to sentence certain convicted child molesters to surgical castration may soon be landing on Gov. Jeff Landry’s (R-LA) desk. 

Earlier this month, the state’s House of Representatives passed the Senate bill by a vote of 74 to 24, but the legislator ultimately added amendments that were only just unanimously passed on Tuesday. Those changes must now be approved by the Senate. The original bill required all sex offenders to undergo the procedure, but the most recent version leaves it up to a judge.  

The state already practices chemical castration through medication as a punishment for sex offenders, but Democratic state Sen. Regina Barrow’s bill will allow a judge to order the procedure for a felon who committed a sexual offense against a child under 13 at the end of the prison sentence. Failure to comply could result in an additional three to five years in prison. 

Female offenders would have to have their ovaries removed. Exceptions for the punishment are made for offenders under the age of 17. The bill could become law by Aug. 1.

The cost of castration would be $550 to $680 per inmate, according to Louisiana’s Department of Corrections and Public Safety.

“We have to stand and fight for children,” Democratic state Rep. Delisha Boyd said when carrying the bill to the House, according to the Louisiana Illuminator

The bill faces strong opposition from Democratic state Sen. Edmond Jordan, who claims that the bill will disproportionately affect black people, referencing the Jim Crow era in which black men were unjustly castrated and lynched.

“Who does this affect most?” Jordan asked lawmakers, per the outlet. “I know it’s race neutral. I know we say it can apply to anybody, but we all know who it affects.”

Jordan and the author of the bill, Regina Barrow, are both black

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Jordan asserts that it will cost the state $100,000 to defend the statue in court.

Other states, including California, Florida, and Texas, allow for chemical or surgical castration for sex offenders.

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