We are often contacted by those who have loved ones serving lengthy sentences for child pornography crimes (e.g., receipt, possession, production, or distribution – many of which are prosecuted in federal courts).
Here is a chart of the federal mandatory minimum sentences for child pornography offenses:
|Offense||Mandatory Minimum Sentences|
|Possession of child pornography||None|
Sentences for these offenses have skyrocketed in recent years, with many carrying harsh punishments. As the U.S. Congress has created longer and longer sentences for child pornography crimes, it has also required the U.S. Sentencing Commission to increase the advisory federal sentencing guidelines for those offenses. The length of federal child pornography sentences has increased 500 percent in the last 15 years. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is currently reviewing the guidelines for child pornography offenses and determining how they can be improved. FAMM supports this review.
While serious crimes can devastate victims and communities, and many of these crimes warrant severe punishment, even mandatory minimum sentences for these offenses can sometimes produce unintended or strange consequences. Examples could include giving lengthy mandatory sentences to:
Child pornography offenders and their families often struggle with feelings of shame and frustration and feel that no one cares about their situation. Below are resources that describe how these laws work and provide links to other organizations that offer support.
Note: FAMM is not affiliated with the organizations listed below and cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information on their websites.
Read this helpful article about the problems with child pornography sentences (by Senator Arlen Specter and Linda Dale Hoffa, The Champion, Oct. 2011)
News Release: Sentencing Commission Issues Report Assessing Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses (U.S. Sentencing Commission, Feb. 27, 2013)