Surgical Castration Bill Approved By Louisiana Legislators

( — Lawmakers in Louisiana on Monday approved legislation that would allow judges in the state to order surgical castration for those convicted of molesting children.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed SB 371, which, if graced by Governor Jeff Landry’s signature, would make Louisiana the first state to approve such a punishment.

The bill would give judges the option to order surgical castration while sentencing those convicted of certain offenses against children under 13, including molestation, rape, and incest.

While SB 371 was widely opposed by Democratic state lawmakers, it was Democrat Senator Regina Barrow who proposed the legislation.

Barrow argued that the bill would provide judges an additional option in sentencing horrific crimes against children and would serve as a deterrent.

According to Barrow, the bill would be applied to both men and women who commit such offenses.

There are more than 2,200 individuals serving time in the state for crimes against children under 13. However, if the governor signs SB 371, it would only apply to those convicted of a crime that occurred after July 31, 2024.

Under SB 371, if a defendant refuses to undergo the surgical castration ordered by a judge, there would be an additional charge for failing to comply, which would add three to five years to a prison sentence.

The bill would require a medical expert to first “determine whether that offender is an appropriate candidate” for surgical castration before the judge’s order is carried out.

Under the current law enacted in 2008, Louisiana judges have the authority to order chemical castration for those convicted of such offenses, however, that punishment was rarely imposed. Between 2010 and 2019, there were only one or two cases where chemical castration was ordered.

Opponents of SB 371 argued that it, along with chemical castration laws, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Some Louisiana lawmakers similarly criticized the bill as too harsh, particularly for first-time offenders.

Senator Barrow argued that for a crime against a child, “one time is too many.”

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