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Should violent criminals be castrated?

User Thread
 42yrs • M •
Grockel is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Should violent criminals be castrated?
The purpose of prison is to reform criminals, however this is not always possible. Many criminals repeatedly break the law and are undeterred by the prospect of punishment. There are several factors believed to contribute to criminal behavior, one important factor being high testosterone levels. It has been proven that testosterone is linked to aggression, in 1990 James Dabbs studied 4,462 men and concluded that "the overall picture among the high-testosterone men is one of delinquency, substance abuse and a tendency toward excess." Even in women, Dabbs found high testosterone levels were related to crimes of unprovoked violence. Statistically men commit significantly more crimes than women, specifically violent crimes.

We know that castration can drastically alter an animals behavior, most notably by reducing sex drive and aggression. Not all aggression is caused by testosterone, however the University of California found that in 60% of dogs aggression could be treated with castration. Castration also causes sterility which, considering the inability of prisoners to raise their children, may be an added bonus.

Violent criminals destroy their lives and the lives of others, is society not morally obliged to save them from themselves via castration?

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
You can best judge a society by how they treat their prisoners.

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 27yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that dazedNconfused1 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
What happens when you attempt to fight fear with fear? Nothing positive.

The way I see it people should be more preoccupied with sorting the problem out at the source but the way we have come to know life, as a system and not a fact, there is no way that castrating criminals will change anything for the better. So I guess my response is no, I don't believe criminals should be castrated mainly because it fixes nothing and only gives someone even more misguided reason to do harm to others.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that littlejohn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I'm rather uncomfortable with society being morally obligated to do anything. I understand and even appreciate certain "laws" because they add comfort to my existence. What is moral or not -- as a basis for controlling society -- I have less appreciation for that concept than others seem to have.

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 52yrs • M •
EdsBrain is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
I don't think we can adequately know how well rehabilitation works since we don't actually rehabilitate prisoners. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world because like all things American prisons are a business. The question has to be put on hold until we actually have a prison and justice system that isn't just another tool of capitalism and politics.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that littlejohn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Hi, Agree with EdsBrain, we dont really do that. I think the original premise might need to be revisited. Restated here; "The purpose of prison is to reform criminals."
I dont claim to be an expert on this topic by any means, but IMO, I dont think that "premise" is correct.

Is that the purpose <?>

To be clear .. dont believe reform is a goal. Detained for the purpose of carrying out a sentence (punishment) is the goal I am aware of.

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 59yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that Hobbes Choice is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I think this is common enough confusion.
No one every stopped to consider THE reason for prisons, and everyone seems to have a different idea of why they exist.
1) Reform and Correction.
2) Deterrence.
3) Isolation from the community.
4) Punishment
5) Vengeance.

All of these aims are real , but they do not all co-incide compatibly.

There is currently a lot of negative news about China's work prisons. They dwarf similar institutions in the USA.

What do people think about the reasons why the US has the largest incarceration rate in the world?

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 59yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that Hobbes Choice is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
To Grockel.

You seem to think that humans are favourably compared to dogs.
Society cherishes aggressive behaviour when there is a war, and encourages it in their soldiers.
Maybe you think we ought to be manipulated by our government in this way?
Maybe one day someone will turn to you and say grow some balls we want you to kill for us?
Are you happy with that?

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 28yrs • M •
Inmate 0001 is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
A society where mutilation of humans is acceptable as a strategy to reduce violent crime is, by no means, a "civilized" society.
There's also the "wrongful imprisonment" thing to consider. If you lock up an innocent man, you can always set him free again and try to somehow compensate him for his trouble. If you cut an innocent man's balls off, they ain't going back on.
Also, many instances of violent crime are related to peoples' socio-economic situations. For example, I don't exactly see drug-related murders dropping by castrating the dealers/enforcers who commit these murders.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that littlejohn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
you right !! LOL, the balls aint going back on --- that explanation is very easy to grasp.

perhaps we should just give them a vasectomy... assuming that the goal of castration in the first place was to somehow purify the gene pool ? Rid us of crime by not allowing suspects to procreate ? I guess that would be the point. I would hate to think someone would suggest castration just for mean-ness or punishment.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
There is little data that shows criminal behavior to be hereditary.

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[  Edited by thx1137 at   ]
 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that littlejohn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
wow, ok. good to know that.
So, not sure then how the castration thing arose .. <?>

I dont have a good suggestion for how a society should handle lawbreakers in general. wish i did. However, whatever else goes on, cutting off peoples parts is not something i would ever condone.

I think if someone asked me to design a prison, it would likely be more of a 'farm" or small city with a fence around it or something like that versus the jail cell type of thing.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I shun most genetic improvement inspired programs as it hearkens back to the days of eugenics. Remember those days when we were going to rid the world of deviants and imbeciles? Even the American 'scientific' programs were only a bit more polished than the Nazi's approach.

The correlations of data involving prisoners trend more toward other factors, even though brain chemical imbalances do play a part. Better predictors are:

poverty
unstable or domestically violent home life
low levels of education
alcoholism or drug abuse
low IQ

Even zip codes correlate higher than genetic information.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Of course, here I must point out that correlation does not mean causation.

For example, though studies have shown that the average IQ in prisons is lower than that of the general public, does not mean that lower IQs cause crime -- it could just mean that those with lower IQs get caught more often.

Or zip code may correlate with where the police are concentrating their efforts.

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 65yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
That said, I think that the combination of poverty and sub-standard education have historically proven to be a bad mix.

Of course statistically, you are much more likely to be poor if your parents were poor. And any Ayn Rand objectivitist will tell you that poverty is caused by a character flaw ( e.g. 'the moochers' ). Perhaps we should just castrate the poor.

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[  Edited by thx1137 at   ]
Should violent criminals be castrated?
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