The Use of Androgen Deprivation Therapy on Sex Offenders

Hurrell, Kristen Ghersi

Androgen Deprivation Therapy is a method of chemical castration that uses pharmacological means to reduce an individual’s testosterone to pre-pubescent levels.  For the past one hundred years, Androgen Deprivation Therapy is a treatment that brings about much controversy with respect to sex offenders, as the government and public are calling for harsher punishments and the reduction in recidivism for sex offenders.  Reducing an offender’s testosterone levels without informed consent represents one of the main ethical considerations to this controversial treatment.  Furthermore, some mental health professionals propose that the use of pharmacological treatment cannot be offered on a genuinely voluntary and consensual basis to convicted offenders.  Additionally, there are many side effects to Androgen Deprivation Therapy, including a reduction in bone density and risk of fracture, suppression of the production of sperm, mood disturbance and depression, and migraines.  This paper focuses on the history of Androgen Deprivation Therapy, its efficacy and use for sex offenders, short and long term side effects, and alternative treatment options.

Keywords: Androgen Deprivation Therapy, sex offenders, forensic psychology