From July next year, sex offenders against children will be treated with drugs to suppress their sexual impulses.
The National Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill on the drug treatment for sex offenders, or chemical castration.
Adults convicted for committing sexual offenses against children aged under 16 are to be injected, upon the doctor’s diagnosis and the prosecutor’s request, with chemical drugs to restrain sexual desire, according to the bill.
The maximum period of the treatment is 15 years.
The treatment does not require the convict’s consent and also includes first-time offenders.
Convicts who are serving their prison term may also volunteer to undergo the chemical treatment and receive parole in return. The paroled convict is required to pay for his own injections.
The bill is a modification from the bill on the repeated sexual child abusers, submitted by Rep. Park Min-shik of the ruling Grand National Party in 2008.
It originally included the term “chemical castration,” to describe giving drugs to convicted pedophiles to suppress libido, but the phrase was changed to drug treatment. The GNP said this was due to the strong connotation and the excessive humiliation inflicted on the subjects.
The revised bill also embraces a wider pool of sex criminals.
The concept of using drugs to prevent repeated sex crimes is presently exercised in the U.S. states of California and Oregon, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland, which all saw a fall in the rate of repeated sex offenses, according to the Justice Ministry.
In Oregon, 134 sex crime convicts were released on parole in 2000-2004 and none of the 79 who were given drug treatment committed a second offense, said officials.
Among the 55 who were not so treated, about 10 percent later committed further sex crimes.
Medical experts, however, point out that such effects may only be temporary and that the subdued sexual impulses may come back once the treatment ends.
Also, the maintenance budget came up as another problem as treatment for an offender costs more than 5 million won ($4,000) per year.
Sex offenders are forced to wear traceable electronic anklets and to have their personal information revealed on the Internet. Such measures, however, are only applied under certain restrictions.
The reinforced measures on sex criminals followed a series of brutal child rape cases this year. In a recent one, former sex crime convict Kim Soo-cheol kidnapped and raped an 8-year-old girl whom he found in a school playground.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org