So a student has pleaded guilty to 17 charges of making and having in his possession videos of child pornography. What a shining example of the things that undergraduates at the University of York can achieve. He will face trial in December and is likely to spend longer than a year in jail.
You may think I’m being blunt, but we all know the story, there are many like it and I don’t intend to dwell very long on this one in particular.
The student was found with images rated at Level 4 on the Copine Scale, which categorises the severity of child pornography. Last week it was revealed that 50 year old Kevin Page of Beccles, Suffolk would not receive a jail sentence because Judge Rupert Overbury decided he needed help rather than punishment.
Page was found to have 85,772 images and videos, 5,174 of those at Level 4 and 281 at Level 5. This highest level is reserved for content that involves sadism or bestiality.
What I want to know is this: where is the line that our judicial system has drawn to dictate who needs help and who goes straight to jail? How many videos do you need to have watched to pick up the ‘get out of jail free’ card? I don’t think you can honestly say that anyone who has watched child pornography is not in need of help, but the real issue we must question is why that help is not offered to all.
it is hardly any wonder that the recidivism rates in the UK are so high
Peterhead Prison houses 300 of the country’s most dangerous and long-term predatory male sex offenders, and in the year 09/10 only 48 of these completed the programmes put in place for character reformation. It is hardly any wonder that the recidivism rates in the United Kingdom are so high.
The new sex offenders’ programme ‘Good Lives’ allows for prisoners to opt out of group therapy sessions if they find them too intrusive and pop pills as an alternative. Prescription drugs are being offered to prisoners as a means of lifting depression and cutting sex drives. But not to all prisoners.
While there is controversy over the definition of what is ‘normal’, there is certainly no debate over what is acceptable. There is something innate within us that tells us involvement in child porn, be it as a producer, hardcore fan or casual observer, is wrong.
To commit such a crime indicates psychological abnormality. I say we either need to extend a helping hand to all sex offenders and offer them rehabilitation, tackling the issue head on, or we need to lock them all away and throw away the proverbial key. This issue does not allow for shades of grey.
Furthermore, a 23 year old student is not beyond help, in fact he’s the very example of someone crying out for it.