John Grisham: sentences too harsh for viewing child abuse images


John Grisham: sentences too harsh for viewing child abuse imagesCrime author criticises US justice system, saying ‘jails are full of 60-year-old white men who never harmed anybody’

The author John Grisham has said people who look at child abuse images “probably had too much to drink” and should be given lighter prison sentences.

Grisham, 59, made the comments during an interview in which he criticised the US justice system and the high number of serving convicts.

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who have never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “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 abuse material.”

Grisham said too many people were being jailed for crimes such as minor drugs offences and white-collar crime. He said judges had “gone crazy” in the past 30 years.

He said a friend from law school had been jailed for three years for viewing child abuse images in Canada. He said the site was labelled “16-year-old wannabe hookers”, and his friend’s drinking had been out of control at the time.

He added: “I have no sympathy for real paedophiles. 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.”

Asked about the fact that viewing such content fuelled abuse of youngsters to create the images, Grisham insisted that sentences should be lower for people who only downloaded it.

Grisham, the author of legal thrillers such as The Firm and A Time To Kill, has sold more than 275m books in his 25-year career.

Source: The Guardian