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Oklahoma considers chemical castration for sex offenders

Oklahoma state Rep. Rick West -R-Heavener, poses for a photo in the House chamber at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. West has introduced a bill requiring certain sex offenders to undergo so-called "chemical castration" as a condition of release. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma wants some sex offenders to undergo so-called chemical castration under a bill he’s introduced to add Oklahoma to a list of states where the punishment is on the books, but is rarely carried out.

State Rep. Rick West of Heavener says he filed the bill at the request of a constituent and that he fully intends to push for its passage. It’s likely to face strong opposition, even in a conservative state with a tough-on-crime reputation.

If approved, Oklahoma would join at least seven other states with laws allowing chemical treatments that reduce male testosterone for certain sex offenders. Experts say the punishment is rarely carried out and one described it as a “half fantasy” version of criminal justice.

A law professor at University of California at Berkeley says evidence suggests such drugs are most effective when used voluntarily.

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