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Thailand considers offering to offer chemical castration to convicted sex offenders in exchange for lower prison terms

Convicted sex offenders in Thailand may soon be offered chemical castration in exchange for a shorter prison sentence, as lawmakers consider a bill aimed at tackling sex crimes, Reuters reports.

On Monday, 145 senators approved the bill, and two did not participate. According to Reuters, the lower house passed the bill back in March. Before becoming law, the bill would have to go through another House vote and gain a royal endorsement.

Castration injections – which lower testosterone levels – would be offered to criminals who are likely to commit additional crimes. According to Reuters, of the 16,413 convicted sex offenders released from Thai prisons between 2013 and 2020, more than 4,800 re-offends.

Those who choose to receive the injection will first need approval from two doctors. If they undergo injections, their prison sentences will be reduced. However, they will still be monitored for 10 years, and will be required to wear electronic bracelets, Reuters reports.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin told Reuters he wanted the law to be “passed quickly” to avoid “seeing news about bad things happening to women again”.

Jaded Chauvilai, director of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, a non-governmental organization that addresses sexual violence, condemned the law.

According to Reuters, “convicts should be rehabilitated by changing their mindset while in prison.” “To use punishment like execution or injection reinforces the idea that the offender can no longer be rehabilitated.”

If the bill is approved, Thailand will not be the first country to use chemical castration. The controversial practice is already legal in countries such as Poland, South Korea, Russia and Estonia, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, the laws of several US states, including California, Florida, Louisiana and Wisconsin, have similar castration provisions. In 2019, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the law into law which required some sex offenders to be chemically neutered before their parole.

Natacha Larnaud contributed reporting.

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