The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, signed a decree some time ago by which chemical castration has been authorized to be performed on convicted child offenders, and it also requires offenders released on parole to wear electronic monitoring devices.
The punishment comes as a response to the brutal case that resulted in a 14-year-old girl losing her life when she was headed on her way home and was met by a group of men. The seven teenage boys that forced themselves on the girl were each sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime, and the case prompted national outrage and revived previous calls for chemical castration as a punishment against child offenders.
The President told a news conference at the presidential palace in Jakarta at the time that he had signed a decree amending the country’s 2002 law on child protection, and it enables judges to hand down the punishment at their discretion.
Mr. Joko said that the inclusion of such an amendment will provide space for the judge to decide severe punishments as a deterrent effect on perpetrators.
“These crimes have undermined the development of children, and these crimes have disturbed our sense of peace, security and public order. So, we will handle it in an extraordinary way.” – he noted.
According to the President, the violence against children has increased significantly in the country, so he also increased the jail sentences for child offenders to a maximum of 20 years, instead of 10.
There are many skeptics of the procedure, though, and Heather Barr, a senior researcher on women’s rights with Human Rights Watch said that chemical castration risks offering a false solution, and a simple one to a complex and difficult problem. According to her, protecting children from assaults requires a complex and carefully calibrated set of responses, including school-based efforts to prevent and detect abuse and an effective social services system. She thinks that chemical castration on its own addresses none of these needs, and she believes that medical interventions should only be used as a part of a skilled treatment program, and not as a punishment.