Indonesia's parliament has voted to allow incredibly strict punishments against convicted pedophiles, including chemical castration, 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentences and execution, the BBC reported this week. Indonesian President Joko Widodo proposed the changes.
The Indonesian Doctors Association said the punishments would violate its members' professional ethics. The new laws will mandate at least 10 years of prison time for repeat offenders, and will allow judges to tag repeat offenders with microchips or castrate them with a chemical process. In the most extreme cases "where the perpetrator murders their victim or leaves them with psychological trauma or a sexually transmitted disease" the person could be executed, the Independent reported. The changes approved Wednesday were largely a response to a horrific rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in April carried out by 12 men and boys.
The chemical castration is a process in which a man is injected with female hormones. It's used on sex offenders in Poland, South Korea, Russia and some U.S. states, according to the BBC. In states like Illinois, Ohio, California and Arkansas, repeat offenders can opt for castration, either surgical or chemical, in order to be released.
A 1991 Johns Hopkins study found that less than 10 percent of chemically castrated offenders had committed sexual offenses in the five years following the procedure. But other studies showed that some patients saw a surge in testosterone levels and increased sexual desires after the procedure.
Some critics of the new laws in Indonesia were quick to question the viability of the castration procedure.
"Other countries that have chemical castration have not seen a reduction in sexual crime against children," Indonesia’s National Commission for Women said in a statement. "Also it's a very expensive procedure and what we should be spending and investing our money in is services to support and help the victims."