A Question of The Rights of the Government V.S. The Rights of a Sex Offender

This year at National Issues Forum delegates saw many controversial proposals. Arguably #109 was one of the most controversial. Written by Jake Johnson of Lakeville delegation, it seeks to implement a nationwide law requiring registered sex offenders to be surgically castrated. The heart of the controversy seemed settled in the question of how much control a government is allowed over a criminal’s body, which created a clear divide between the two sides.

According to the author, in 1st and 2nd committee the proposal faced strong opposition. The opposing Delegates in second round, committee one were quick to pick apart Johnson’s proposal, pointing out that this proposal only applies to male sex offenders due to the lack of an equivalent operation for females. Also it was discusses that it falls under cruel and unusual punishment. The biggest and arguably most problematic part of this proposal was that the author was unsure about which specific sex offenders would be castrated. Specifically, in the proposal the author’s title or purpose mentions only child sex offenders, but in their Proposal For Action part, they state all sex offenders. While debating the bill in second round committee, the author still wasn’t sure what kinds of sexual offenders deserve castration, stating he was unsure and would need to do more research on whether or not teens registered because of sexting, or people who have publicly urinated deserve surgical castration. Lastly, in the proposal, those determined to be eligible for the surgery would have to pay out of pocket, but could also pay with their health insurance. Delegates on the con side were against this because if this is your punishment, you should pay out of pocket.

Delegates who agreed with proposal #109 were positive about this bills effects on society as a whole. The author, Jake Johnson, believed that although this proposal is harsh, it would act as a preventative measure for any potential sexual offenders if they had this punishment looming over their decisions. He believes that the punishment was not cruel and unusual, and that it was to prevent offenders from committing any more crimes.The fact that the offender would have to pay for the procedure themselves would also be a deterrent.

Proposal #109 did not make it past the second committee rounds on Saturday to General Assembly on Sunday.

Written by Anna Bergman

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