Which Sentence Would You Choose: Prison Or Castration?

“By punishing the criminal the moral man hopes to dissuade the evil imprisoned in his own breast from escaping.” —John Carroll

In A Nutshell

In 1985, three South Carolina men raped and tortured a 23-year-old woman for six hours. When they were finally hauled into court, it seemed like this would be a pretty simple case. But then the judge handed down an incredibly bizarre sentence. The men could serve 30 years behind bars . . . or they could undergo surgical castration.

The Whole Bushel

In 1985, 23-year-old Elizabeth Daniel went to a South Carolina motel to meet Roscoe James Brown. The two had a child together, and Daniel wanted Brown to start paying child support. Brown, on the other hand, didn’t want anything to do with Elizabeth. But when he arrived at the motel, things got wildly out of control. He’d brought along two friends (Mark Vaughn and Michael Braxton), and after getting drunk, the trio brutally raped and tortured Daniel over the course of six hours.

Daniel lost four pints of blood in the attack, but she managed to crawl out of the room and find help.

Her three attackers were quickly arrested and hauled into court. Really, it seemed like an open-and-shut case. But when it came time for sentencing, Judge C. Victor Pyle issued an unbelievably bizarre ruling. He offered the three crooks a choice. They could serve 30 years in prison or they could go undergo surgical castration. In other words, it was the majority of their life behind bars or a future without children and a severely diminished sex drive.

Naturally, this created something of a firestorm. Some people supported this old-timey justice, while others said the ruling reinforced the notion that rape is a crime of sex instead of a crime of violence. Some said castration was letting the rapists off too easy, but others argued that castration was completely unconstitutional. Either way, legal scholars commented that this sentence was “the first in modern history.”

Eventually, the case made its way to the South Carolina Supreme Court. The trio’s defense attorney argued castration was “physical mutilation.” However, the criminals weren’t so sure. After thinking about 30 years behind bars, the perps decided to drop their appeal and undergo surgery, but by this time, it was too late. The South Carolina Supreme Court determined that surgical castration was “cruel and unusual punishment.” (It’s worth nothing, however, that several states do practice chemical castration for sexual offenders.)

The three criminals were sent to prison, but because of South Carolina’s parole guidelines, they were all released incredibly early. According to the podcast “Criminal,” two of the men returned to normal lives. However, while on parole, Michael Braxton went on to rape again, this time in the state of Tennessee. When he was finally released in 2015, he was sent back to prison in South Carolina for violating his parole. He’s currently scheduled for release in 2021.

Show Me The Proof

Criminal: Either/Or
Chicago Tribune: Court Rejects Castration Choice For Rapists As ‘Cruel, Unusual’
NY Times: Rape Sentence: Castration or 30 Years
Independent Mail: Anderson’s infamous rapist, once set to be castrated, gets new prison term

  • Colonel Duke LaCrosse

    “…while others said the ruling reinforced the notion that rape is a crime of sex instead of a crime of violence.”

    If you cum at the end of the crime you were committing, it was probably a crime of sex.

    • Lyla Lexie

      I’m gonna go with both, since after they finished, they then stuck a half gallon glass liquor bottle in her vagina. That’s why she lost four pints of blood. Honestly, I think surgical/chemical castration AND jail time should have been the sentence here…eye for an eye. They severely mutilated an 80 pound girl to the point where she had to crawl to the front desk to ask for help…surgical castration in my opinion is quite lenient. The police officer assigned to her case couldn’t believe the amount of blood that was “just absolutely everywhere”. This article did not fully go into depth about why the judge chose this particular sentence, and it was because it was “the most violent rape [he] had ever seen”. Just thought I’d add some extra info to help the sentence make more sense.

      • Eli Goldsmith

        Yep, Lyla, WAAAAY too lenient!!! Castration AND about 20 years with no “time off” for anything! Moreover, 4 pints from an 80 pound person (young woman) was probably about HALF – maybe a bit more, 60%) of the total amount she had! 12 pints is average for an average person. What is average? 5’10” and 160 pounds for a male? 5’5″ and 125 lbs for an average female?

  • “After thinking about 30 years behind bars, the perps decided to drop their appeal and undergo surgery, but by this time, it was too late.”

    So they played their cards and lost. The castration choice would have been better for them, more free time and it would have avoided the rape that succeeded after Michael Braxton was released from prison the first time. And since vasectomy is a totally legal procedure I don’t see why so much fuss about it.

    • $1324846

      A vasectomy doesn’t affect testosterone, silly!

    • eman

      Well vasectomy is a bit different from castration. You lose A LOT of your sex drive from castration but vasectomy doesn’t affect you as much.

  • $1324846

    Castration is a medical procedure for people with testicular cancer, and they probably lead happy and healthy lives so it’s not that horrific a “punishment”. I think it’s only inherently cruel and unusual if the patient in question does not consent to having their hormones changed to a more feminine state.

  • İf you cum at the end of the crime you were committing it was probably a crime of 🙂


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