MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WALA) - An Alabama lawmaker is working to push a bill that would require certain sex offenders to be surgically castrated before being released from prison.
Republican Rep. Steve Hurst is proposing the bill for the 2014 legislative session.
The bill would require convicted sex offenders over the age of 21 whose victims were 12-years old or younger to be surgically castrated. It would also require the offender to finance their own castration.
FOX10 spoke with Rep. Hurst, who said he began pushing for tougher sex offender laws after learning of a 1-year-old boy who had been sexually tortured and abused by his own father.
Hurst said he recognizes the move is controversial.
“I know I have people that say that this is inhumane,” said Hurst. “The way I look at this is - what is inhumane is to molest a child, especially an infant. That’s inhumane.”
When asked about chemical castration, stricter supervision, or other methods of punishing and rehabilitating sex offenders, Hurst said he felt weak punishment was only allowing offenders to re-offend.
Some locals agreed.
“If you know what the consequences are and you still go and do it anyways -- either your just crazy or asking for it,” said one woman.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation has more than 11,000 registered sex offenders in the state.
Citizens said despite the alarming number, they felt the move is unconstitutional.
“Do they deserve it? Yes,” said one man. “Should it happen? I don't know.”
Another woman said, “It’s a little too far. But if they hurt my son I would want that to happen too.”
Hurst added that female sex offenders, under the same guidelines, would also have to undergo surgery, should the bill become law.
Texas is currently the only state with a similar law while 9 other states, including Florida, allow chemical castration.
Hurst said he tried to pass the same bill last year but it never made it out of committee.
He said he feels he has secured more support for the measure this time around.
Representative Hurst also said he is encouraging voters to send him feedback about the bill, and if they support it, to contact local representatives and let them know.
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