Added: September 5, 2015 – Last updated: September 5, 2015


Author: Mark Linsky

Title: The Most Critical Opinion

Subtitle: Sex Offenses and Castration in San Diego, 1938-1975

Journal: The Journal of San Diego History

Volume: 35

Issue: 4

Year: Fall 1989

Pages: 1-13

ISSN: 0022-4383 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Offenders: Punishments / Castration


Link: San Diego History Center (Free Access)


Abstract: »In 1938 Judge Lawrence Turrentine of the San Diego County Superior Court began offering the option of voluntary castration coupled with long terms of probation for sex offenders. The alternative was a long prison sentence. Although there were no strong endorsements of this option from the San Diego legal community, neither was there strong opposition. The judge's personal evaluation of the sentence's effectiveness was taken for granted. Even in the face of the issues raised by such noted experts as Kinsey and Bowman, the use of voluntary castration continued in San Diego through the 1950's and into the 1960's. In 1974, under the weight of medical and legal opinion, voluntary castration was halted in response to a California law that discouraged organic therapies. There are still members of the medical and legal communities, however, who believe that castration works in rehabilitating sex offenders who would otherwise languish in prison. Others, supported by a considerable body of scientific evidence, argue that legally, morally, and medically castration is unacceptable and unnecessary.« (Source: NCJRS Abstracts Database)

Wikipedia: Castration