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Russia's Chemical Castration Program May Get Bold Finance Plan

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The Russian government has balked at the cost of a controversial program to deter pedophiles, so a trio of volunteers is stepping up.

Veniamin Rodnyansky from the government's Public Chamber, as well as businessman Andrey Ryabinsky and attorney Shota Gorgadze have offered to fund Russia's program to chemically castrate child molesters, Russian news outlet Russia Today reports, citing a story by Russian-language newspaper Izvestia.

RT explains that in 2011, then-President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law that allowed for suspects convicted of crimes against children under the age of 14 to be subjected to chemical castration. Yet the estimated $265,000 per year to run such a program has proved daunting. The three activists, therefore, have issued their sponsorship plan to Russian lawmakers, with Gordadze adding that he would also donate time to prosecute pedophiles, whom statistics say have victimized 401 children under the age of 14 within the last 10 months in Russia, writes Russia Today.

Child abuse in Russia had "skyrocketed" in 2010 to a point that vigilantes tracked down suspects, and in some cases beat them without police involvement, Russia's Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov told the Russian International News Agency (RIA Novosti) in 2012. Astakhov saw hope in the chemical treatment, claiming 98 percent of untreated pedophile parolees commit sex crimes again, compared to just 3 percent on medication.

According to the Indian Broadcasting Network, Russian parolees who try to evade enforced medical treatment get another year in jail.

Other countries that have used chemical castration include Argentina, Israel and Poland, according to CNN. In the United States, California, Florida and Texas are among the states that have legislated a form of chemical castration. However, the news network writes, it's difficult to quantify how often the practice is used.

CNN also reports that, although the drugs essentially wear off if not repeated (but with possible after-effects), Amnesty International has branded the practice as "inhuman treatment."

Debate also continues over whether medically reducing testosterone decreases the rate of child molestation. However, a study on the effects of one specific drug on male offenders, the female contraceptive Depo-Provera, found that convicted pedophiles on parole became repeat offenders 73 percent less while taking the drug.

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