The US Supreme Court has sentencing guidelines on sentencing child pornographers. Though advisory in nature, it says that anyone convicted of the crime of child pornography can be sentenced with the maximum prison time or penalty.
Research had shown that for the past two decades, majority of child pornography convictions have been corresponded with a severe penalty. Some judges prefer to sentence a mere possession of child pornographic material to ten years in jail. Others even stretch up to twenty years when the offender is found guilty of distributing and sharing the same prohibited material.
We know for a fact that child molestation is very different compared to pornography. For one, the former is more malicious due to actual physical and sexual contact with the child. The latter on the other hand lacks physical contact since the offense is mainly focused on taking nude and malicious images and photos of a minor.
Now the question is, should child pornography be considered as something that is equal with molestation? Is the usual trend of punishments and penalties justified by the mere possession of pornographic material? You can have your own say.
Anyhow, critics of the severe punishment for pornographers argue that the sentencing is not based on actual evidence and empirical data, but largely on morality, emotion, and the legislation’s fear of society making it more acceptable in due time.
On the other hand, those who are for the argument of severe punishment thinks that convicted child pornographers deserve it. The justification lies in the fact that child pornographers encourage child abuse and are even responsible for building a market for predators and pedophiles. They also support the likelihood that these people are keener to molest a child if not caught or may have even molested one before they were caught in possession of child pornographic material.
Nonetheless, no matter how hard one debate on the justifiable penalty, reality remains that judges have the prerogative to inflict the kind of sentence a convicted criminal deserves for the crime he committed.