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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 140643 Find in a Library
Title: Legal and Ethical Issues in the Use of Antiandrogens in Treating Sex Offenders
Journal: Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:(1989)  Pages:223-232
Author(s): J T Melella; S Travin; K Cullen
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 10
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the legal and ethical considerations regarding the use of antiandrogens in sex offender treatment concludes that clear ethical guidelines are needed for the administration of this treatment.
Abstract: Because deviant sexual behavior overlaps with the criminal law, theories of medical treatment and social control of these offenders tend to become confused, making it difficult to separate punishment from treatment. The enforced use of Depo-Provera can possibly interfere with constitutionally protected rights such as privacy interests, right to procreative freedom, freedom of speech and communication, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. In view of these constitutional prohibitions, it is doubtful whether involuntary antiandrogen treatment can be imposed on a criminal offender in any context, including parole and probation. However, voluntary treatment appears promising, provided that the offender is offered a non- coerced choice. If more rigorous research proves this treatment to be effective, it can benefit both the sexual offender and society by reducing the need for imprisonment. However, ethical guidelines will be required to prevent its inappropriate use for broader social control purposes and to prevent overzealous researchers from inflicting unnecessary physical and psychological harm on individuals desperate to avoid imprisonment.
Main Term(s): Involuntary treatment; Sex offender treatment
Index Term(s): Medicolegal considerations; Right to refuse treatment
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