Thailand may soon introduce chemical castration in exchange for reduced prison terms for sex offenders.
The bill, which the lower house passed in March, was approved by 145 senators with two abstentions.
It still needs another vote in the House and then royal assent.
Of the 16,413 convicted sex offenders released from Thai prisons between 2013 and 2020, 4,848 reoffended, according to the Department of Corrections.
Under the bill, some sex offenders deemed to be at risk of reoffending could be given the option to receive testosterone-lowering injections in exchange for a shorter prison term, provided they have the approval of two doctors.
Under the bill, offenders will be supervised for 10 years and will have to wear electronic monitoring bracelets.
If approved, Thailand would join a small group of countries that use chemical castration, including Poland, South Korea, Russia and Estonia, as well as some US states.
“I want this law to be adopted as soon as possible,” said Justice Minister Somsak Tepsutin.
“I don’t want to see the news again about bad things happening to women,” he said.
Jaded Chowvilay, director of the Foundation for the Progressive Movement of Women and Men, an NGO that works on the issue of sexual violence among others, said that the use of chemical castration will not lead to the fight against sexual crimes.
“Convicts should be rehabilitated by changing their consciousness in prisons,” he said.
“The use of punishments such as execution or injection castration reinforces the idea that the criminal can no longer be rehabilitated.”