Chemical castration does not remove any body organs and it is not a form of sterilization. It is often used to treat unwanted sexual activity, but in some instances it is also used to treat cancer. The effects of chemical castration are generally considered to be reversible. From a legal standpoint, this practice has been used as a method of judicial policy in lieu of ongoing supervision for high risk sex offenders. There are some pros and cons to chemical castration to consider no matter what side of the debate you might fall on.
It is effective at reducing libido.
Because the chemicals that are used in this process dramatically reduce the amount of testosterone that is produced, the person receiving chemical castration has a greatly reduced sexual drive. They can still have sex, but the desire to have sex is often removed.
It dramatically drops recidivism rates.
In every major study that has been conducted regarding chemical castration, sex offenders have had dramatically lower recidivism rates. In some studies, the recidivism rate for a second sexual offense is just 2%. Compare that to recidivism rates that can exceed 40% without chemical castration and it is understandable to see why it is included in certain judicial policy around the world.
It costs a lot less to treat sex offenders through chemical castration than through incarceration.
The average cost of the drug program for a sex offender that involves chemical castration is about $40,000. In a state like California, that is nearly 50% less than it costs to house that offender in a prison facility over the same year. In return, the offender as less than a 5% chance of re-offending, which means they are allowed to reenter society with an increased level of supervision. In other words, someone who was not a productive member of society can become productive thanks to chemical castration.
It can have devastating side effects.
Even though the effects of chemical castration go away when treatments are stopped, the side effects of the practice may continue on for a lifetime. There is a greater chance of bone density loss that is directly associated with the length of time that chemical castration medications are used. There is also the chance that the chemicals will not have any effect on the sex offender at all, allowing them to perpetrate once again at will under the cover of being chemically castrated.
It might violate the rights of those convicted of a crime on a human level.
Some people believe that sexual offenses are some of the most vile that exists in the world today. Many are willing to compromise their own ethical objection so that victims can seek justice. The problem of chemical castration within judicial policy is that it essentially exerts control over the mind of the offender. They are being forced to be incapable of having a sex drive. Some offenders choose to have this practice done voluntarily, but many would rather have an indefinite sentence then be forced to have chemical castration as a condition of parole.