Parole is an important part of our legal system. It allows those who are
convicted of crimes to serve part of their sentence in the community rather
than in prison. This prevents overcrowding and helps those helps those
who are rehabilitated during their incarceration. Persons convicted of
crimes are typically eligible for parole after they have served one-third
or 33 percent of their sentence.
If a bill that recently passed without opposition in the both the house
and the senate is signed by the Governor, however, those convicted of
child pornography crimes in New Jersey would not be eligible for parole until they have
completed 85 percent of their sentence. Another major change addressed
in the bill is that anyone who shares pornographic images of minors—even
on a peer-to-peer level—qualifies to be charged with distribution.
Proponents of the bill argue that the current laws are antiquated and
need to be updated. They also state that it will eliminate discrepancies
in sentencing between federal and state courts.
While the intent of the bill is to protect children and their families,
it could actually hurt some people accused of child pornography, especially
those who are falsely accused. Furthermore, distribution and possession
of child pornography are two very different crimes. Is it fair to punish
someone who simply looked at an image or e-mailed it to a friend using
the same parole guidelines as someone who is broadly distributing the
images? Those who are accused of sex crimes may want to speak with a criminal
defense attorney who can aggressively defend their constitutional rights,
especially if this bill becomes a law.
Source: The Star-Ledger,
“Bill overhauling state child pornography laws arrives on Gov. Christie's desk,”June 24, 2013.