Star Tribs "Getting Tough on Child Porn"
An article titled "Getting tough on child porn" was in the Star Tribune this past Sunday (still available in the archives on StarTribune.com). The article states that "federal prison sentences for child porn producers more than doubled between 1994 and 2005." One of the reasons that these sentencing guidelines are getting so high is because of the "repeat nature of the offenses," in other words, offenders are being charged with multiple counts as they more than likely do not posess only one pornographic item. One of the cases mentioned in the article was about a first-time offender who ended up getting sentenced 30 years in prison. The article also brought up the resulting disparity of the sentencing in that "people can get much shorter sentences for much more violent crimes."
This is certainly an example of the government making a strong statement about the crime through the severity of the sentences; and rightfully so as there is no argument about how horrible it is and how damaging for those affected. However, let's take a look at it from another perspective. Do you think that the harsher sentencing guidelines are the best solution? Does 30 years in prison properly rehabilitate this sort of offender? If not, what does? Shorter sentences, longer sentences, rehabilitative programs, counseling, etc. ? Does the dangerousness of the criminal and the interest in keeping him/her from the public justify the cost of keeping them imprisoned for 30 years? What do you think?