Males convicted of a sex offense against a child under the age of 13 in Alabama will be forced to undergo chemical castration in the month before they're released from custody. Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday signed into law the bill passed by the state legislature on May 30, which forces offenders to pay out of pocket for chemical castration via oral medication or injection, which interferes with the production of testosterone, unless a court decides an offender is unable to pay, per CNN. The effects—an inability to perform sexual acts and limited sexual interest—are reversed once treatment stops, but it'll be up to a court to determine when this might happen. Any offenders who stop treatment on their own will be found in violation of parole and returned to custody.
"This bill is a step toward protecting children in Alabama," Ivey said, per CNN. Randall Marshall of the ALCU of Alabama instead believes the law may be a form of cruel and unusual punishment. "It's not clear that this actually has any effect and whether it’s even medically proven," and "when the state starts experimenting on people, I think it runs afoul of the Constitution," he tells AL.com. The bill's author, GOP Rep. Steve Hurst, who initially called for surgical castration, counters that many victims of sexual abuse support the law, which follows similar ones on the books in seven states and Guam, per NBC News. GOP Sen. Cam Ward adds it will likely apply only to a small group of offenders as most people convicted in such cases are not considered for parole. (Ivey has been busy signing controversial laws of late.)