The State prison health system has stopped prescribing drugs to suppress deviant urges in sex offenders amid concerns about the effectiveness and health risks.
The Department of Corrective Services confirmed the change after it was raised in the Supreme Court yesterday at the yearly review of the indefinite jail term of notorious paedophile Michael Alexander McGarry.
McGarry, a classified dangerous sex offender, had the review for his possible release adjourned after the court was told he was waiting on a referral to a hormone specialist about taking Androcur, an anti-libidinal drug sex offenders have used to reduce their risk of reoffending.
The medication was previously a factor for releasing sex offenders on supervision orders. It reduces testosterone levels to lower the libido and suppress sex urges.
A department spokesman said anti-libidinal drugs were not "primary health care" and would not in future be provided to inmates. Prison authorities would continue to monitor the treatment of nine dangerous sex offenders taking the medication.
He said research showed anti-libidinal drugs were not a panacea for all sex offending and the department was concerned about possible health issues that could result.
Arrangements could be made to give prisoners access to external medical services if they wanted to use the medication.
In the Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Stephen Hall noted the change came with concerns about the health risks associated with the treatment. He was told side effects included heart problems and osteoporosis.
McGarry had an irreversible lowering of his bone density and stopped taking the medication voluntarily in March with the aim to start again later.
McGarry was seeking to see an endocrinologist outside the prison services about returning to the medication or an alternative.
Justice Hall allowed an adjournment but said treatment was only one factor for a release.