Those charged with child pornography-related crimes in the United States generally face a formidable uphill legal battle.
As a result of recently amped-up prosecution laws and minimum sentence requirements, few charged with child *bleep* crimes are acquitted – and the impact of that is beginning to show.
Law.com reports that suicides and suicide attempts among those charged with child pornography-related crimes have increased dramatically in the last year. In California’s northern district alone, four suicides and one suicide attempts have reportedly been recorded in the last nine months among child pornography suspects.
Some lawyers have apparently expressed a lack of surprise: after beefed-up prosecution efforts went into effect in 2006, indictments for child *bleep* charges increased by 27% in the next year. And, because the toughened laws include strict mandatory minimum sentences, plea bargaining yields very little for most offenders.
Judges interviewed, too, have evidently offered theories on why the suicide rate has gotten so high among suspected child *bleep* offenders: of the 1,209 child *bleep* cases completed by the Justice Department in 2006, 95% led to convictions and fully 92% involved guilty pleas.
“Chances Are…You’re Going To Jail”
The odds of conviction for someone facing child pornography charges are outrageous, which may lead those facing prosecution to avoid what’s likely to be a long prison sentence in a hostile environment.
Weighing in from another side of the issue, a therapist who works mainly with sex offenders has offered another factor that may play into the rash of suicides, sources report.
It seems that many who grow addicted to child pornography dissociate that part of themselves with their rational, day-to-day selves.
When facing criminal charges and the very real possibility of fines and prison, then, these people may be unable to deal with the upsetting and even shocking reality of what their actions mean.
How Legal System Intends On Handling Problems
Judges and others working in pretrial services are allegedly assessing child *bleep* suspects to determine whether or not they’re likely suicide risks.
If they are, then they can be held in custody and given proper treatment. But not every case is cut and dry, as the incidents in the past year have demonstrated.
One therapist has reportedly suggested counseling for all first time offenders, with subsequent offenders placed in prison.
A variation of this strategy would involve counseling offenders while they served a prison sentence for a first offense.
But, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for many convicted of child *bleep* charges and child sex offenders widely known as among the most unpopular convicts in prison, the problem of suicide could well continue to burden the criminal justice system.