Thailand will allow sexual abusers to undergo chemical castration in exchange for reduced sentences or parole

Thailand is close to introducing chemical castration for rapists as a means of combating sex crimes. On July 11, the country approved a bill that would give the right to choose a voluntary chemical castration procedure in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.

The bill was approved by 145 senators, with two abstentions, and the final decision will be made after royal assent and official publication in the Royal Gazette.

Of the 16,413 convicted sex offenders released from Thai prisons between 2013 and 2020, 4,848 committed repeat offences, according to Thailand’s Department of Corrections.

Under the bill, criminals who repeatedly rape girls and children would be able to voluntarily consent to injections after undergoing a medical examination. Regularly taking the drug would lower the inmates’ testosterone levels, and with it their sex drive. After the procedure, offenders will be monitored for 10 years and will have to wear electronic bracelets.

Similar laws are already in place in Estonia, Argentina, other European countries, and some U.S. states. Forced chemical castration is sentenced for paedophilia in Poland, Moldova, Indonesia, South Korea and other countries.

“I want this law passed as quickly as possible,” Justice Minister Somsak Tepsutin said Tuesday. “I don’t want to see news about something bad happening to women again,” he said.

Jaded Chouwilai, director of the Progressive Women and Men’s Movement Foundation in Thailand, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on sexual violence, among other issues, said the use of chemical castration would not help solve the problem of sexual crimes.

“Convicts must be rehabilitated by changing their thinking in prison,” he said. “The use of punishment, such as execution or injectable castration, reinforces the idea that the offender can no longer be rehabilitated.”

Researchers also dispute the effectiveness of this method of treating criminals and believe that lowering testosterone levels won’t help get rid of inappropriate sexual behaviour.