Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Joseph Pascarella


There is a gap in research on the effectiveness of mandatory-€minimum sentences on the recidivism rates of federal child pornography offenders, resulting in policy that may be ineffective and costly. Relevant research can further understanding of criminogenic behavior that results in the exploitation of children and aid future policy making decisions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to better understand the relationship between federal sentencing and federal child pornographer recidivism. Central to this study is the research question of whether there exists a statistically significant difference between the likelihood of recidivism in 2 child pornographer cohorts that receive different sentences, probation or mandatory incarceration. The employed frameworks for this study were retributivism and the self-€regulation model. A quantitative analysis was used to examine the recidivism rates of the 2 different cohorts as well as the predictive value of various factors related to recidivism. The sample population consisted of 70 offenders convicted of a federal child pornography offense between 2012 and 2016 from 3 states and 7 federal judicial districts. Purposive sampling was employed via publicly available secondary data. Key findings revealed that the analyzed data does not support the existence of a relationship between recidivism and the given sentence. Second, crime of conviction was the only examined factor that supported predictability for future recidivism. The implications of this study will mean evidence for potential policy modifications, alteration of an existing economically draining strategy, and the positive social change of reduced harm and exploitation of children.