Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DC - US Sentencing Commission releases big new report on federal child porn sentencing

Original Article


As reported in this official press release (PDF), this morning "the United States Sentencing Commission submitted to Congress its comprehensive report examining federal sentencing policy in child pornography cases." Here is more from the press release, which serves as a partial summary of the 468-page (Full Report -PDF) report:

Although still only a small percentage of the overall federal caseload, child pornography prosecutions have grown significantly during the past decade and now account for nearly 2,000 federal cases each year. That growth reflects the increasing role of the Internet in child pornography offenses. Before the Internet, law enforcement officers had significantly curtailed the child pornography market in the United States.

Significant technological changes in offenders’ conduct have occurred since the federal penal statutes and sentencing guidelines for child pornography offenses were last amended comprehensively a decade ago. Child pornography offenders today typically use Internet technologies such as peer-to-peer file-sharing programs that enable offenders to distribute, receive, and collect child pornography images more easily and in greater quantities than when the current penalty structure was established. Several penalty enhancements in the guidelines for child pornography offenses,such as use of a computer, now apply to typical offenders. As a result, prison sentences for defendants convicted of federal child pornography offenses have almost doubled in the last decade to approximately five years for possession and 11 years for receipt and distribution.

Judge Saris concluded, “Because of changes in the use of Internet-based technologies, the existing penalty structure is in need of revision. Child pornography offenders engage in a variety of behaviors reflecting different degrees of culpability and sexual dangerousness that are not currently accounted for in the guidelines.”

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1 comment :

Randy said...

Due to the various definitions of child pornography, it is beyond scary to know how little it takes to be charged with this. There is no wonder why the cases have escalated considering how many people take pictures of their children. I would like to know specifically what will and won't land a charge with this. Though most pictures taken by parents are never nude nor sexually suggestive, I feel many parents may have taken pictures that could meet definition of child pornography. For example...a baby in just a diaper or a child or minor in a bathing suit. I don't feel most parents would be taking theses types of pictures of their children with the intention of producing child pornography....but could they be charged for it under current definition?