Castration is removal of the testicles. Castration can be accomplished
through surgery or drugs. Surgical castration has been used as a means
of social control for hundreds of years. In the 20th century, approximately
60,000 male prisoners with mental disabilities were castrated in American
prisons. Hormonal therapy to lower testosterone and thus diminish sexually
deviant behavior is now the preferred method of castration in the U.S.
This is referred to as “chemical castration.” In 1996, California
became the first state to enact legislation allowing the use of chemical
castration as a penalty for child molestation (Penal Code section 645).
This has led to the enactment of similar statutes in at least eight other
states. Unlike surgical castration, chemical castration is not permanent.
When the hormone medications are discontinued, the testosterone levels
usually return to normal.