- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill requiring chemical castration for sex offenders of victims under the age of 13.
- Offenders will be required to take pills that reduce hormones that drive libido prior to their release from prison, and must take them as long as courts say is necessary.
- The legislation was proposed by State Rep. Steve Hurst (R-35), who has supported castration for child sex offenders for a long time.
- However, many criticize the bill and question how effective it is.
- Some also call it cruel and unusual punishment.
Gov. Ivey Signs Bill
On Monday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill that requires certain child sex offenders to undergo chemical castration.
The law applies to offenders whose victim was under the age of 13. Starting a month before their release from prison, they must start taking pills that reduce hormones that drive libido. This treatment will be in addition to other penalties or fees in their sentence.
Offenders will also be responsible for paying for the treatment, though the law does state a person cannot be denied parole based on their inability to cover the treatments.
Offenders will be required to take the treatment as long as courts deem necessary. If someone is caught not taking the medication, it will count as a parole violation.
According to reports, Gov. Ivey said that the law “is a step toward protecting children in Alabama.”
The bill was started by State Rep. Steve Hurst (R-35), who is a long-time supporter of castration for sex offenders. In the past, he has proposed legislation that would require surgical castration for offenders with victims under the age of 13.
Hurst claims to have received support for the bill from survivors. He hopes that as the law comes into effect, it can change and be built upon based on its success.
“I’m very serious. Not only did I want it to pass, I want to follow it on through to the future where we can try to improve it,” Hurst told AL.com. “One of the ultimate goals that I want to do is for us to track it and to make sure what medication works for what individuals.”
Similar Laws in Other States
Alabama is not the first state to pass a law of this nature. States like California, Florida, Montana, and others all have laws allowing chemical castration to be used in a similar context to some extent.
The degree in which it is used varies state to state. In some states, it is not a mandatory process, but, offenders can choose to go through the treatment as a means to quicken their parole process.
Critics of the Law
However, even though several states have passed this law, it is unclear how often it is actually used. Critics also argue how effective chemical castration is as a process, and cite potential side effects that range from depression to anemia.
In 2006, John Stinneford, a law professor at the University of Florida, wrote a paper calling the process both impractical and cruel. He said that laws like these treat sex offenders like they have a sexual disorder, but he claims this is not the case.
“Many of these offenders may be incorrigibly bad, dangerous or antisocial people, but they do not suffer from a sexual sickness,” Stinneford writes. “Thus, subjecting them to chemical castration is not even arguably medically appropriate.”
Stinneford also goes on to say that this practice should be considered a cruel and unusual punishment.
“Because chemical castration is designed both to shackle the mind and cripple the body of sex offenders, it is doubly cruel, and should be struck down as a violation of the Eighth Amendment,” he said.
Randall Marshall, Executive Director at the ACLU of Alabama is also a critic of the process.
“It’s not clear that this actually has any effect and whether it’s even medically proven,” Marshall told AL.com. “When the state starts experimenting on people, I think it runs afoul of the Constitution.”
However, Representative Hurst has a counterpoint to those who believe it is inhumane.
“What’s more inhumane than molesting a small, infant child,” he said to CBS 42.
See what others are saying: (AL.com) (CBS 42) (Washington Post)
Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days
The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.
Centner Academy Vaccination Policy
A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.
According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.
“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.
According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”
In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.
Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.
Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation
In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.
The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.
In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.
According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.
The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.
See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.
See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)
Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids
The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.
DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.
The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.
In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”
Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.
In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”
Labor Market Implications
The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.
Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.
According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.
“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”
It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.
The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.
That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.