Guam adopts chemical castration for sex offenders
Just days after its passage, Governor Eddie Calvo has signed Bill 99 into law. That means Guam joins seven other jurisdictions in the nation and is the only territory of the United States to adopt chemical castration for sex offenders.
Department of Corrections director Jose San Agustin says he supports any piece of legislation that aims to protect our community, telling KUAM News, "I think this is a very good bill. I understand the governor approved the bill and it's a very good bill to actually have in the best interest in ensuring the safety of our community here especially women, children and men."
Bill 99, otherwise known as The Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders Act, was signed into law by the governor this week. The bill would require DepCor to establish a hormone or anti-androgen pilot treatment program for persons convicted of sex crimes and who are eligible for parole or post-prison supervision. "I understand it's a three-year pilot program and we look forward to supporting the program and taking it off the ground," San Agustin stated.
According to data from the bill's main author, Senator Brant McCreadie, there are over 880 sex offenders registered on the Guam Sex Offender Registry - 164 of which are currently at DepCor. Of those convicted, at least 53 will be eligible for parole within the next three years. San Agustin said, "A very common crime, which is criminal sexual conduct, are pretty much balanced recidivist compared to other crime, as well."
Governor Calvo in a release says there are concerns over the bill such as the cost of creating and implementing such a program. Data from McCreadie's office further show that the usual weekly dosage for chemical castration of 500 milligrams is calculated at over $244 per injection, or over $12,000 annually. A recent audit on DepCor meanwhile showed the cost to house an inmate per week is over $800 - $119 per day, or $43,000 annually - which is 3.5 times more costly than the hormone treatment.
"I can tell you that there is no cost you can compare if you mean to put people's safety first 0352 whatever costs it takes," continued the director, "but I really think this being a pilot program, I hope to see it being very beneficial to the community."
Guam Parole Board chairwoman Michelle Taitano was unavailable for an interview or comment, but according to testimony submitted in July, weeks after the committee report for Bill 99 was reported out, the Guam Parole Board did not support Bill 99. Taitano writes although criminal sexual conduct offenders have committed crimes and will be incarcerated and hopefully "corrected" at DepCor, they will pay for their crimes via incarceration, restitution and/or fines. She says "they are still people" and even questions whether Senator McCreadie would want chemical castration if given a similar situation.
"I thought of that at first that it was cruel, but as I read and understood more that it could be taken through injection or through pills, I think that's a safer way than actually being physically castrated which makes it's a permanent castration," said San Agustin.
DepCor would be required to adopt rules before the program is implemented.