Tn. Lawmaker Proposes “Chemical Castration” for Child Sex Offenders


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — A Republican lawmaker in Nashville is proposing a new Tennessee law that would require anyone convicted of a sex crime against a minor under age 13, to undergo a treatment called, “chemical castration”.

Bruce Griffey, says he was encouraged when Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed similar legislation in her state last June.

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6 other states have also passed similar laws.

Representative Griffey says he has 30 years experience as both a prosecutor and a defender.

“I’m not aware in my 30 years of practicing law of anybody really getting kind of fixed or cured or getting appropriate mental health treatment where they no longer have these urges. My concern is that it’s something that’s kind of messed up in their mental wiring so to speak,” said State Representative Bruce Griffey, (R) Paris, Tennessee.

We spoke with Chattanoogans to get their thoughts on the idea.

Larry Garner, said, “It seems to me that chemical castration is a way extreme thing to do. That’s been done in the past and we’ve been ashamed for it for doing it to homosexuals. I don’t think our court system is accurate enough to be doing capital punishment or castration of anybody.”

Murielle Cunnyngham said, “I’m definitely a supporter of it, I think it would be a deterrent, for sex offenders, I’m not sure how effective it will be as far as their interests, sexually, and their motivations behind the crimes they commit, I think a lot of that may be a psychological issue, but, like I said I do think it will be a deterrent knowing that this is going to be the punishment for them if they are convicted.”

Jonah Brown said, “While they did do what they did, they deserve to be in jail for it, it does seem kind of brutal.”

“I think if they agree to it, it might, to them be a better alternative than staying in jail.” said Miranda Irwin.

Representative Griffey says this chemical treatment has had success.

“If it prevents just one child from being sexually assaulted or raped or whatever, it’s well worth it to me,” said Representative Griffey.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at