John Grisham Says Not All Men Who Watch Child Porn Deserve To Be Sentenced

November 15, 2017
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American writer John Grisham has hit out at the US judicial system and high prison rates and believes America is unfairly jailing too many of its citizens for watching child pornography.

Grisham spoke to the Telegraph’s Peter Foster while promoting his new book when he claimed that America’s judges have “gone crazy” over the past 30 years jailing too many people for minimal crimes.

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child. But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn,” he says.

Grisham made these comments after his “good buddy from law school” was caught up in a child pornography sting operation about ten years ago. He claimed his friends’ case is a prime example of excessive sentencing.

Reliving the incident he explained the story to the Telegraph. “His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled ‘sixteen-year-old wannabee hookers or something like that’. And it said ’16-year-old girls’. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff – it was 16-year-old girls who looked 30. He shouldn’t ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys. He didn’t touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ‘FBI!’ and it was a sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people – sex offenders – and he went to prison for three years,” Grisham said of his friend.

His comments are rather questionable in relation to how he feels about pedophiles but in an effort to clarify his remarks he said, “I have no sympathy for real pedophiles, God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that’s what they’re getting.”

Grisham is a multi-millionaire with earnings of an estimated $200 million in the last 14 years. Last year alone he made $17 million and was placed in 6th place in Forbes’ list of top-earning authors. He has sold more than 275 million copies of his novels since his debut in 1989.

Grisham has since apologized for his comments, releasing a statement on his website. He said:

“Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography—online or otherwise—should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable.

I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.”

The world’s largest prison population is in the U.S with 2.2 million adults behind bars. The U.S population accounts for just 5% of the overall world’s population yet a quarter of the world’s prisoners are held in American prisons.

In 2012, a report by the U.S Sentencing Commission stated that the average sentences for those who possess but don’t produce child pornography have doubled in the U.S in the last decade. Commission data showed that 96.3% of all offenders possess images of minors under 12 years of age.

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