Louisiana Passes Surgical Castration Bill for Child Molesters

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Judges in Louisiana could order people who are convicted of sex crimes against children to undergo surgical castration under a bill that state lawmakers passed overwhelmingly on Monday.

While Louisiana and a few other states, including California, Texas and Florida, have long allowed chemical castration, the option to punish sex offenders via surgical castration — which is far more intrusive — appears to be the first in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and prisoners’ advocacy groups.

The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican who took office in January vowing a tough-on-crime approach. And while the bill easily passed the Republican-dominated Legislature, it was a Democrat from Baton Rouge, Senator Regina Barrow, who introduced the measure.

“We are talking about babies who are being violated by somebody,” Ms. Barrow told lawmakers during an April committee meeting. “That is inexcusable.”

The bill allows for the procedure to be ordered for either men or women.

Some legislators expressed concerns about Louisiana’s record of wrongful convictions and the prospect of racial bias.

“Who does this affect most?” Representative Edmond Jordan, a Baton Rouge Democrat who is Black, said during a legislative hearing. “I know it’s race neutral. I know we say it can apply to anybody, but we all know who it affects.”

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