Sentencing Behavior After Federal Guideline Shift in Child Pornography Crimes

Ariane Holtschlag, Illinois Wesleyan University

ABSTRACT
In 1995, Congress passed the Sex Crimes Against Childrenb Act (SCACPA) which directed the United States Sentecing Commission (UYSSC) to increase base offense levels and create an adjustment for the use of a computer in crimes against children. The SCACPA was passed due to concern about the ever increasing availability of computer and internet technology to individuals. These changes are particularly important when considering the trafficking of child pornography where the use of a computer and/or the internet could dramatically advance the size and span of such an industry. Through this research I will seek to determine how offenders are being sentenced, as well as which offenders, if any, are receiving a greater term of incarceration due to the computer use adjustment. Analysis of USSC data files from amendment years 1991 through 1995 will be compared to those during amendment years 1996 through 1999 (when the changes came into effect).

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Updated 05/20/2006