Sentencing Commission Report Examines Child Pornography Cases
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.
According to Judge Patti B. Saris, chair of the Sentencing Commission, “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.”
The report found that 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.