Federal Sentencing of Child Pornography: Non-Production Offenses

Source: ussc.gov 6/29/21

(Published June 29, 2021)  This report updates and expands upon the Commission’s 2012 Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses. In this report, the Commission provides data from fiscal year 2019 regarding:

  • the content of the offender’s child pornography collection and nature of the offender’s collecting behavior;
  • the offender’s degree of involvement with other offenders, particularly in an internet community devoted to child pornography and child sexual exploitation; and
  • the offender’s engagement in sexually abusive or exploitative conduct in addition to the child pornography offense.

The report also examines the evolution of technology since the 2012 Child Pornography Report its continued impact on offender conduct and the widespread applicability of sentencing enhancements. Lastly, it provides a recidivism analysis of non-production offenders.

Click here to go to the report download page


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  • When tracking 1,093 nonproduction child pornography offenders released from incarceration or placed on probation in 2015, 27.6 percent were rearrested within three years.
  • Of the 1,093 offenders, 4.3 percent (47 offenders) were rearrested for a sex offense within three years.
  • Eighty-eight offenders (8.1% of the 1,093) failed to register as a sex offender during the three-year period.

4.3% recidivism rate of C.P. Possession offenders, as opposed to a 29% recidivism rate of DUI convictions. We are definitely the more dangerous bunch, aren’t we. 🤔

Key Findings ( paraphrased)
Bullet point #1 Facilitated by advancements of the database driven infrastructure…..child porn use ( non production & sharing crimes) exploded exponentially.

Bullet Point #2 Constrained by mandatory minimums, Congressional guidelines and amendments, and Agency directives under the Protect Act (2003)….. (SS 2g2.2) hasnt kept pace with tech advances(tube & torrent sites)and has skewed the intent behind enhancements provisions so badly they have become ubiquitous (that word AGAIN) and uselessness for sentencing guideline structure meant identify and restrain the most dangerous individuals.

Honestly, the sentences mentioned in this report for non-production, non-distribution, non-contact offenses are insane. Okay, they were looking at illegal images. Bad on them! But you can go online and watch an ISIS video of someone being beheaded – that seems like it would be pretty f’ing damaging to a person! Maybe I’d see it differently if I were a judge and saw what was actually being viewed, I don’t know. But sentences of 8+ years for NON-contact, NON-violent offenses just seems extreme to me.

Yes, can someone please explain to me how a drunk driver who kills an entire family gets to live freely and anonymously after he gets out….. while a guy who looked at illegal images is forever pilloried on the Internet for all to see, shame, ostracize and abuse?? That is insanely unjust! 😠

Note that the Sentencing Commission finds it necessary and proper to reflexively insert into their findings the myth of the “dark figures of crime” – an oft-repeated fiction created by those running the criminal justice system that purports that ALL crime rates are in reality much higher, far more prolific, and more out of control than statistics indicate. There is no hard data to support this. None.

In respect to CP offenses, this serves to: (1) downplay and dismiss the significantly low recidivism rate for people convicted of CP (2) justify the ever-increasing flow of our tax dollars into their pure and wholesome wallets (God knows there are no “dark figures of crime” in respect to corruption within their own ranks – no prosecutorial, police or judicial misconduct, and certainly no payola for politicians…right?); (3) supports their particular brand of cruelty and the meting out of never-ending and increasingly severe punishments for these immoral and dangerous behaviors including the dangerous crime of ‘Failure to Register’ (just as bad as murder); (4) keeping the general public frightened to death of people convicted of CP, as it is inferred that all such people now released back into decent society are likely to be re-offending – and not just by viewing images, but by engaging in an unknown number of hands-on offenses….we’ll just leave it to your imagination to guess how many and how often. Certainly, their wonton serial-sexual offending must know no limits.

Thus, the Commission concludes: “Accordingly, any research on sex offense recidivism based on reported arrests, including the Commission’s recidivism findings, should be viewed as a conservative measurement of actual recidivism.” Be afraid. Be very afraid.