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Though Oklahoma is a conservative state, the new bill could face opposition and be tossed for it's questionable standing with the constitution. Under this new legislation, people convicted of violent sexual offenses could be required to undergo a chemical treatment that reduces a male offender's testosterone and sex drive. The sentence would be given by a judge as a condition of the offender's release.
AP reports that the treatment is rarely used in states where the treatment is legal. The first state to pass a similar bill into law was California in 1966. Now Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, and Wisconsin have also legalized the method. In Texas, repeat sex offenders can go a step further by volunteering to be surgically castrated.
The American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Oklahoma worries that requiring offenders to undergo the chemical treatment without their consent is a violation of their rights outlined by the eighth amendment, which prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment. “It’s hard to imagine this couldn’t be considered cruel or unusual,” spokeswoman Allie Shinn said. “I don’t want to place too much faith in the Oklahoma legislature to avoid blatantly unconstitutional proposals, but we’re hopeful this bill, as written, is just too extreme to move.”
In 2002, a similar bill that allowed both chemical and surgical castration made it through the state’s legislature. It was vetoed by Republican governor Frank Keating, who called it “silly.”