Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen introduced his preference for farmyard justice when staff from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program were at the Capitol Tuesday to introduce their program to the new members of the House Public Safety Committee.
Concerned that the treatment program is too cushy for sex offenders, Gruenhagen first proposed that chain gangs might cure what ails sex offenders.
Then the Glencoe Republican had a better idea: "Are any states applying castration to this group of offenders?" he asked.
The clinical director for the sex-offender program, perhaps responding to the snickers that followed Gruenhagen's question, first tried to make sure everyone knew that slicing sex offenders' balls off was not on the table as an option:"Chemical castration is the use of anti-androgens," said Jannine Hebert. "Someone either has a patch or they get injections to decrease their level of testosterone."
But while some states have experimented with making chemical castration a condition of parole, Hebert testified, it doesn't really make sense as a treatment because it doesn't address the causes of criminal sexual behavior in most offenders.
"People commit sex offenses for a lot of different reasons and high testosterone level is rarely part of the issue in a sex-offending behavior, so you'd have difficulty prescribing that to the vast majority of sex offenders because it wouldn't meet their condition and the issue of what you're trying to treat."
That's the expert answer of a licensed psychotherapist working with sex offenders every day. But Gruenhagen--whose background is in financial counseling and life insurance--wasn't buying all this scientific mumbo jumbo.
"I would respectfully disagree," Gruenhagen told Hebert. "It sure worked well on the farm, I'll tell you that."
Here's [audio-1]. You can listen to the whole hearing on the Public Safety Committee's website.
Bluestem Prairie has more on Gruenhagen's treatment ideas.