Russia Considers Adopting Europe's Experience of Chemical Castration for Pedophiles

Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General's Office, suggested adopting the experience of European countries and introducing chemical castration of pedophiles. He stated that in the past few years the number of sexual offenses against children in Russia has increased by 20 times.

“We understand that the current punishment, apparently, is no longer effective. We have numerous examples where rapists released from prison commit even more hideous crimes,” Bastrykin said at the board meeting of the Investigative Committee. He added that”we took the initiative to examine the issue of chemical castration for those whose behavior cannot be changed.”

This is not the first such initiative. A similar project was submitted for consideration of the State Duma in September of last year. There were talks about it back in 2008. Evidently, the idea is in the air.

In the 21st century the idea of special measures against pedophiles first emerged in 2000 in England, after the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne by Roy Whiting. After the murder a special register was started which now includes over a hundred thousand of British pedophiles.

Well known in the UK was the letter of Don Mackay, in which he himself asked for castration, realizing that common imprisonment could not save him from criminal tendencies and that he would again commit a similar crime.

In the U.S., pedophiles are entered in a special register, the so-called “Megan's Law” (named for a seven-year victim of pedophile, raped and murdered), and chemical castration is used in several states.

Similar laws exist in Israel and France. In September of 2009 the law on chemical castration was adopted in Poland. In Germany several pedophiles are subject to the procedure each year, and there is some statistics available that shows only 3% of recidivism against 84% in the case of regular imprisonment. It seems quite effective.

Yet, in Italy, the bill put forward by the League of the North has not passed. The initiative was brought by a series of rapes in northern Italy committed by illegal immigrants, which caused a wave of criticism regarding the issue of tolerance.

In the Netherlands in 2006 The Charity, Freedom and Diversity party has been established (Naastenliefde, Vrijheid en Diversiteit, PNVD). The party proposed to lower the age of consent from 16 to 12 years of age (and then abolish it completely), legalize bestiality and child pornography and so on. The organizers of the party declared that “PNVD seeks to ensure that the pedophiles are not seen as criminals only.” To the credit of the Dutch, the organizers could not gather even 600 signatures needed to officially register the party, and in March of this year PNVD stated its dissolution.

Pedophiles issue is a very prominent example that rarely leaves anyone indifferent.

How often do you read about pedophiles that turn to psychiatrists, being aware of their tendencies and willing to get treatment? Not that often, if ever. Pedophiles see psychologists and psychiatrists after they have committed the crime, and the majority do not even consider themselves sick.

It is a graphic illustration of the issue of “what punishment is adequate for the crime.” Usually, people go to extremes. It is either “draconian laws” or modern humanism, when the rights of criminals de facto are more important than the rights of their victims.

So, here is an interesting question: is it possible to rehabilitate a criminal?

It is important to understand that motivation is very important in any act. Two crimes that look identical “from outside” may be completely different from the”inside.”

Let us take a case of “one person killed another one with a hatchet” as an example. What are the options?

The first option would be a homicide under the influence. In this case, the awareness is missing, but the mind is deeply pathological. A normal person, no matter how drunk, cannot be capable of killing his family, friends, neighbors, or even a stranger. There is no point in rehabilitating such people. The likelihood of recidivism is too high. Death penalty in this case is not a revenge (like some choose to say), but the ultimate measure of social protection.

The second option would be for the sake of profits. The answer to “what to do with the offender” does not exist. It is one thing when a retiree is murdered for a few rubles and another thing when John Doe cuts down a drug dealer and takes all his cash. These are very different cases.

In option three the awareness does not matter, but the act of justice is important. Since we started with pedophilia, let’s look at the example from this area. Say a father learned that his child”committed sexual acts of depraved nature.” If this parent kills the pedophile, there should be no complaints.

See how complicated this is?

And yet we must note that imprisonment is not a method. Those who commit a crime by accident (or even innocent people) will not be rehabilitated in prison because they do not need rehabilitation. Instead, the get bitter, towards the government as well.

Professional criminals will not be rehabilitated either because prison feels like home.

There is a point in the temporary isolation from society only if a person is rehabilitated in prison. Can imprisonment rehabilitate? At the most it will teach not to get caught, because prisons are not that comfortable.

It seems that imprisonment is a very inefficient method of punishment for crimes. They are only meaningful short term, when inmates are forced to work for the benefit of society.

This is just for disorderly conduct and the like. Robbery, murder, rape, etc., should be punished by death penalty.

Economic crimes should be punished financially, through confiscation of property (including that of family members). Large scale economic crimes and crimes against the state should be punished by death penalty.

To sum it up, minor violation should be punished by short-term compulsory labor, fines, and deductions from earnings. Serious and premeditated crimes should be punished in a way that will not allow the criminals to repeat them.

However, one should understand that this requires perfect functioning of investigative bodies and other law enforcement agencies, which is not the case.

The issue of fair punishment for a crime cannot be resolved within the existing system.

Andrei Bortsov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov