In a new report, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture has called on Germany to end the practice of offering surgical castration as a rehabilitation option to sex offenders, calling it “degrading”, Global Post reports.
According to German law stands, convicted sex offenders considered at risk of falling off the wagon and committing sexual crimes again can volunteer to undergo the procedure in order to help them manage “an abnormal sex drive.” Some see it as a way to reduce their jail terms, according to the BBC.
And while only five people a year have opted for castration over the last decade, says the CPT report (citing “unofficial statistics”), it questioned the efficacy of the irreversible surgery in reducing sexual impulses, adding that modern treatments like hormone therapy were more desirable. “Surgical castration is a mutilating, irreversible intervention and cannot be considered as a medical necessity in the context of the treatment of sexual offenders”, the report said.
The German government defended the practice as a treatment, rather than punishment. It added that the procedure was safeguarded by a number of measures: it could only be requested by the offender himself, who must be at least 25; an expert commission is on hand to advise the subject, and there is a waiting period where he can change his mind.
The government also cited a study of 104 people who were castrated between 1970-80. Only three per cent became repeat offenders, compared to 46 per cent of the 53 others who did not have the operation.
The CPT’s recommendations are not binding but have great influence. Which is probably why Berlin has said it is reviewing whether policy change should be discussed; however, it has not committed to making changes, the AP reports.
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