Historically, castration is one method that has been used for sex offenders in general. Its purpose is to eliminate sex drive so that the offender will lose his motivation to offend. However, it does not always reduce sex drive.
Castration is irreversible and controversial, and involves several possible side effects.
- Temporary side effects: hot flashes, sweating, and blushing
- Permanent side effects: changes in metabolism, decreased body hair, thicker head hair, obesity, growth of breasts and hips, softening of skin, development of a strangely puckered face, heart disorders, respiratory difficulties, dorsalgia, night sweating, chronic body pain, rachiopathy, and osteoporosis
- No systematic studies of psychological consequences have been done, but a 1968 study concluded that sex offenders were "nearly always very happy." Another study found that 19% experienced serious and lasting physical or psychological pain, and others have reported depression, anger, feelings of inadequacy and isolation, and passivity.
If used at all, David Crawford of Broadmoor Hospital in England believes it is appropriate only for offenders with a drive so strong they cannot control it, which, he writes, is not the case with most pedophiles.
He writes that other criminologists have written that castration "must be looked upon as the best social measure for and treatment of sexual criminals and abnormal sexuals in general," and adds, "Whatever ethical, physical, or psychological problems castration might pose, from a criminological point of view it is effective."10