The ethics of the use of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for child sex offenders
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 21:50 authored by Michelle Qian Yang Lai
In August 2013 a New South Wales government Joint Select Committee commenced an inquiry into alternative sentencing options for convicted child sex offenders. One of the options under their consideration is Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT), a treatment that consists of administering anti-androgenic medication to decrease the level of testosterone to a pre-pubescent level. This thesis considers the option of offering ADT to offenders with the incentive of earlier release from incarceration, as an alternative to continuation of the full incarceration period. These particular conditions raise ethical questions regarding whether the offender's autonomy can be respected under what I describe as incentivized circumstances. I explore autonomy in the context of incentivizing offers, and examine the concerns of philosophers who debate whether offenders can make autonomous choices under such circumstances. The conclusion of this analysis is that while the choice conditions in which offenders are offered ADT do constrain the extent to which fully voluntary consent can be given to the treatment, nevertheless, offering ADT can be understood to enhance autonomy when offered to offenders with the greatest prospect of benefitting from such treatment. Finally, the thesis makes proposals as to the specific conditions in which ADT should be offered if it is to have the potential of enhancing the autonomy of such offenders.