Archive for August, 2005
Rene’ Bray (pictured) is a talk show host and child advocate. Her organization Kids In Danger Of Sexploitation was instrumental in promoting Florida’s Chemical Castration Law.
That is the question asked by the many citizens who helped to lobby the chemical castration bill. Chemical castration, also known as MPA treatment, was passed and went into effect on October 1, 1997. Basically the law requires anyone convicted of a sexual battery with a prior conviction, MUST be sentenced to MPA treatment. The MPA treatment may be ordered on any conviction of sexual battery. MPA is simply a weekly injection of depro prevera, a birth control substance for women. When given to a male it lowers the levels of testosterone and prevents erections. This treatment has been used in Denmark for over 30 years and has lowered the recidivism rate to 2.2%. In light of the recent molestations and murders of Sarah Lunde and Jessica Lundsford by repeat offenders, one has to question why our justice system isn’t using all the tools available to it, such as MPA.
It has taken an inquiry by WFLA –TV reporter, Mark Douglas, to get those questions and others answered and the answers are rather disturbing to those of us who work everyday to prevent sexual assault. The state court administrators have reported that over 50 repeat rapists escaped MPA for no good reason. More than 2000 sex offenders could have been given the treatment, but weren’t. The Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, which houses those who are being held under the Jimmy Ryce Act, isn’t using it either. They say at $600.00 per month, it is too costly. However the cost of incarceration is $6000.00 per month per inmate. Dr. Fred Berlin of John Hopkins is an expert in sex offenders and MPA and he says he is amazed that MPA isn’t being used in this state. The excuses from judges and prosecutors is that they didn’t know of the law or felt like it wasn’t necessary to impose it due to the length of sentences or age of the defendant at the time of release. Ignorance or disagreement of the law is not an excuse to ignore it. One judge in our state took a stand. Judge Anthony Johnson of Orange County sentenced a first time offender to 20 years in prison followed by 10 years of MPA treatment. Johnson said, “ I want to insure the safety of the public and that’s what I am doing in this case.” We can only hope that other judges and prosecutors follow his example.