Chemical Castration

Topics: Testosterone, Prison, Hormonal contraception Pages: 1 (315 words) Published: July 13, 2010
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were over 7.3 million individuals on some type of correctional supervision including probation, prison, jail, and parole in 2008. The number of individuals in prison rose from 1,492,973 in 2006 to 1,518,559 in 2008. The overpopulation and failure of the prison system as well as the problem with child molestation has urged alternative methods of punishment for criminals.

The endocrine system produces hormones that regulate factors such as the immediate response to a threatening situation and sex differentiation including maturation and reproduction (Booth, Granger, Mazur, & Kivlighan, 2006). Testosterone increases the chance that certain behaviors will be affected. High levels of testosterone correspond with increased violent and aggressive behavior in men. (Booth et al., 2006).

Depo-Provera is a common birth control pill that containing a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone. For chemical castration purposes in males, depo-provera acts on the brain to inhibit hormones that stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone (Turk, 1997). It decreases the release of hormones from the pituitary gland thereby lowering the blood serum testosterone levels. The progesterone in Depo-Provera counteracts the biological tendencies. By lowering testosterone, Depo-Provera reduces sex drive and erotic imagery and reduces the tendency to relapse into a previous behavior termed recidivism (Gosselin, 2000). Results are usually encountered after six months of administering treatment. Gosselin states that side effects of the Depo-provera for men include weight gain, muscle weakness, fatigue, and increased blood pressure which disappear after the drug is no longer in the system.

Booth, A, Granger, D.A., Mazur, A, & Kivlighan, K. (2006). Testosterone and social behavior. Social Forces, 85(1), 2-25.

Gosselin, D.K. (2000). Heavy hands: an introduction to the crimes of family violence. Upper...
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