Saturday 16 February 2019

Chemical castration for sex offenders in Poland

Roger Boyes

Poland, enraged by a shocking case of incest, is set to become the first country in the European Union to give judges the right to impose chemical castration on convicted paedophiles.

Although the plan has drawn overwhelming public support -- 84pc of Poles approve, according to a survey conducted for 'Dziennik' newspaper -- it has also sparked criticism from liberal politicians and doctors who argue that forced castration violates fundamental human rights and debases the medical profession.

"I don't think you can call such individuals -- such creatures -- human beings," said Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, in an emotional outburst after the incest case came to light. "Therefore I don't think you can talk about human rights in such a case."

A 45-year-old man was arrested in Poland a fortnight ago after being accused of fathering two children by his young daughter; the Polish press compared it with the case of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who kept his daughter prisoner for two decades, abusing her and creating a secret family.

Fury

The fury of the prime minister is now being translated into law. The Health and Justice ministries have been working on a draft that is likely to be presented to cabinet as early as next month. All the indications are that the law will be passed by parliament where there is a clear majority for punitive castration.

Britain is to offer testosterone-reducing medication to sexual offenders before they are freed from jail. Germany has a similar scheme and connects the medication to therapy: the offender has to volunteer for both courses of treatment.

"This isn't part of the punishment, but aims to reduce the likelihood that they will need to be punished again," said Professor Don Grubin, a Newcastle university criminal psychiatrist, involved in co-ordinating the British scheme.

But the government of Mr Tusk -- until now viewed as much more socially liberal than his predecessor, Jaroslaw Kaczynski -- is determined to make the administration of libido-lowering drugs compulsory if there is a risk of sexual offences being repeated.

Judges, after consulting doctors, will make it part of their sentencing.

"I want Poland to have the strictest possible legislation against criminals who rape children, it is as simple as that," said Mr Tusk.

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