Lawmakers in Guam passed a bill Thursday that would allow the territory’s Department of Corrections to chemically castrate convicted sex offenders, the Pacific Daily News reports.
The bill, the Chemical Castration for Sex Offender Act, narrowly passed 8-7 and is awaiting Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo’s approval. If signed, the bill will set up a four year pilot program that could require convicted sex offenders to be chemically castrated as part of their parole.
Convicted sex offenders who go through the program will be castrated with anti-androgen, a drug that reduces sex drive, though convicted sexual predators in Guam can opt for a permanent physical castration.
With 53 convicted sex offenders currently in prison and eligible for release in Guam, lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill said they hope that harsh punishment will be a deterrent for future sex crimes in Guam, which has the highest rate of sexual violence according to Radio New Zealand.
“This is a good day for the island of Guam,” said Sen. Brant McCreadie, who authored the bill, in an interview with the Pacific Daily News. “It’s an important message; it’s a message that we as a body will not support this type of crime any more. It’s a stern, loud-and-clear message to any offenders out there that there’s going to be consequences.”
Currently nine U.S. states require some form of chemical castration for convicted sex offenders and pedophiles. If passed, Guam would become the first U.S. territory to do so, according to Radio New Zealand.
If signed into law, the pilot program will be enacted for four years, so that lawmakers in Guam can decide whether to continue the program after review.