Serial Rapist Bobby James Allen Castrated In Florida Plea Deal

According to Newsherald.com in Panama City, Florida , criminal rapist Bobby James Allen was castrated as part of a plea deal. “Serial rapist Bobby James Allen went through with the terms of his plea agreement and had his testicles removed. In exchange, Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet on Thursday sentenced Allen to 25 years in prison followed by 10 years on sexual predator probation. Allen, 35, pleaded guilty Sept. 10 to four counts of armed burglary, three counts of armed sexual battery, resisting an officer with violence and attempted sexual battery. The burglary and rape charges are both punishable by life in prison. The charges stem from a series of attacks in 1998 and 1999. Allen agreed to be castrated as a part of a plea that would allow him the chance of leaving prison. The procedure was the first of its kind in a Florida criminal case.”

Whether one agrees with this course of action or not, moral issues must be considered. Do we as a society want to take this road? Mr. Allen , although pleading guilty to the charges, has been in and out of mental hospitals since incarceration for attacks in 1998 and 1999. No information on his mental history prior to these arrests have been reported.

Judge Michael Overstreet did however take the time to explain the side effects of castration “which include erection problems, hormonal changes, breast development, osteoporosis and hot flashes”, even though it is unclear that he has had sufficient medical understanding to be qualified to present the potential effects. It is also unclear if the court is prepared to pay the cost of the procedure ($2,000).

Although we know that treating sexual offenders is a difficult and complex legal and psychiatric problem, is castration complicating the issue by making it overly easy to wash our hands as a society, by choosing this “easy” course of action? If a person is truly mentally ill, are they competent to agree to this kind of plea deal in the first place? The problem with the judicial system in this country is that it talks about rehabilitation, but how it meters out “justice” is more based on anger and revenge. It is not interested in taking a perpetrator of society’s laws, and turning him/her into a contributing member of society.

With today’s modern technology, development of sophisticated drugs and appropriate treatment modalities of the mentally ill, should we not attempt more conservative measures before considering this option? We know the history of treating the mentally ill in this country remains barbaric. We also know what the Nazi’s did in Germany in WW2 by sterilizing millions of people. Now that this option has been used in Florida, is it possible to find other reasons to use it, such as on the “mentally retarded”, or who we consider “undesirable” because society finds them inconvenient?

This issue should not be left to the judicial system. It needs more input of medical ethicist’s, psychiatrists and debated by society before we allow this course of action to become a trend.