MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's parliament is set to consider a draft legal amendment making chemical castration compulsory for people convicted of sex crimes against children under the age of 14, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
The announcement follows Poland's decision last week to make chemical castration obligatory for those convicted of raping children under 15 or close relatives.
Anton Belyakov of the Kremlin-loyalist A Just Russia party, who also leads the Our Project is Health movement, said more severe punishment is needed as 97% of pedophiles re-commit within two years of their release from prison.
"Pedophiles are sick and dangerous people who will never be full members of society, and this is why our goal is to protect healthy people, our children, who have their whole lives ahead of them," Belyakov said.
Under to the proposed amendment, chemical castration would be carried out using the drug Depo-Provera, commonly used for birth control, which contains a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone. The drug lowers male testosterone levels, reducing sexual desire.
"In 2008, 1,300 children suffered from sexual violence and another 5,233 from non-violent sexual crimes in Russia," Belyakov said.
According to current laws on sex crimes involving juveniles, convicted pedophiles receive a prison term of 8-15 years if the victim is under 14. Most receive a lesser term of three to four years due to plea bargaining.
Though the drug has been proven to inhibit a pedophile's desire to sexually attack a child, some medical experts say the drug is ineffective and is not a "cure." Males taking the drug are still capable of sexual acts. The drug also has side effects among some men, including depression, fatigue, diabetes, and blood clots.
The new legal initiative would also seek a life term in prison for repeat offenders if chemical castration proves ineffective.