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In several jurisdictions, sex offenders may be offered chemical castration as an alternative to further incarceration. In some, agreement to chemical castration may be made a formal condition of parole or release. In others, refusal to undergo chemical castration can increase the likelihood of further incarceration though no formal link is made between the two. Offering chemical castration as an alternative to further incarceration is often said to be partially coercive, thus rendering the offender's consent invalid. The dominant response to this objection has been to argue that any coercion present in such cases is compatible with valid consent. In this article, we take a different tack, arguing that, even if consent would not be valid, offering chemical castration will often be supported by the very considerations that underpin concerns about consent: considerations of autonomy. This is because offering chemical castration will often increase the offender's autonomy, both at the time the offer is made and in the future.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s11673-013-9465-4

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Bioeth Inq

Publication Date

10/2013

Volume

10

Pages

393 - 405

Keywords

Castration, Coercion, Criminals, Humans, Personal Autonomy, Prisons, Sex Offenses