Today is going to be a busy day for my blog. Besides this post about Josh Duggar’s fate, I also have a new book review to write. I was thinking of combining my posts, but decided that I don’t want my book review to be commingled with the absolute ickiness of Josh Duggar’s crimes against children. So here’s a quick post on my thoughts regarding Josh Duggar’s punishment, since I know a handful of people out there actually seem to care about my opinions. 😉
Bill and I were in the middle of dinner when the sentencing for Josh Duggar was announced. The prosecution had demanded a full twenty year sentence for Josh, who was convicted of downloading horrific images of child sexual abuse. Josh’s defense team had asked for five years. Judge Timothy L. Brooks seemed to take the middle road, ultimately sentencing Josh to 151 months (12 years and seven months) in federal prison, either in Seagoville, Texas, or Texarkana, Texas. Judge Brooks seemed to prefer Seagoville, since there is a sex offender treatment program there. It’s my understanding that Josh would not be required to attend the sex offender treatment program, but would be strongly encouraged to do so.
Josh will probably have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for release. When he is eventually released, he will be on supervised probation for twenty years. He will not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children, including his own. He will not be allowed access to a computer with Internet access, nor is he allowed to view any pornography. Judge Brooks vacated one of the charges against Josh– the charge of possession of child pornography, which was the lesser of the two charges against him. However, the charge was dismissed without prejudice, so he could conceivably be charged again for that crime. Additionally, Josh has to pay a roughly $50,000 fine.
Attending the court session yesterday was Josh’s long suffering wife, Anna, who wore a subdued navy blue dress and a face mask. After he was sentenced, Josh signed “I love you” to Anna. Josh’s father, Jim Bob, was also there, also masked, but apparently doing a lot of smirking. Sister Joy Anna Forsyth was there, sitting on the prosecution’s side of the courtroom, with her brother, Jason. I read that she got up and left the room, apparently upset, when Josh’s conduct toward her when she was a child was discussed. That must have been horrible for her.
Josh, Anna, and Jim Bob appeared to be stoic as the sentence was announced. Josh was even described to be in “good spirits” before the sentence was handed down; he was described as wearing a grey suit and having a beard, but less hair on his head. Anna was described as “blonder”, and some people in the Duggar Family News group were speculating that she might be pregnant again. Personally, I think it’s more likely that she’s still got baby weight from her most recent pregnancy, and perhaps has gained some weight from stress eating. I hope she isn’t pregnant again. It’s possible, I guess… but I think it’s unlikely.
Brother-in-law Derick Dillard was not at the sentencing hearing, although he did attend the trial. Derick did tweet yesterday…
A lot of people don’t think Josh’s sentence is long enough. Personally, I am not surprised that he got 151 months. That’s about what I predicted he would get. I came to my conclusion, in part, because this is technically his “first offense”, even though we all know it’s not really his first offense. I’m sure the judge was careful to make sure to do everything according to normal standards, so that there would be less reason for appeals or complaints about unfair treatment.
While I firmly believe that his attraction to illegal pornography is going to be a lifelong issue for Josh, and I think he will eventually reoffend, it’s unrealistic to expect him to get a super harsh sentence from the start. Yes, he’s gross, but he’s not the grossest… and the reason we know so much about him is because he was a reality TV star. He was a reality TV star because his parents are greedy fame whores. As nasty as Josh is, there was a time when he was innocent. His parents failed him spectacularly. However, as much as they’ve failed Josh, they have also failed the rest of their children… especially the sisters who were among Josh’s first victims.
I don’t understand how any decent parents with a scintilla of sense would keep having babies when there’s a known sexual predator in the family. And yet, beyond 2002, when Josh’s proclivities were exposed, Jim Bob and Michelle kept having babies. They encouraged him to marry very young, and Anna became the recipient of his attentions, while they continued making babies who were probably victimized by Josh, too. I don’t know what is the best thing for parents to do in a tough situation like this– but I do know that adding more children to the mix was not the right thing to do.
In any case, Josh will soon be headed to Texas, where he’ll have some time to think about what he’s done. Some people are hoping he has access to the general population… or they have access to him. I don’t wish for prison justice. It’s not anyone else’s place to visit retribution against Josh Duggar. He should do his time safely. He will be in a low security facility, though. Both Texarkana and Seagoville are low security prisons, which means that as bad as prison is, it won’t be as bad as it could be. Violence is typically pretty low at low security prisons. If Josh is able to stay out of trouble, he’ll probably be okay. Of course, the tabloid newspaper, The Sun, describes the prison as “hellish”. But there are certainly worse places Josh could be going, and possibly could go, if he doesn’t do his time like a model prisoner.
It may turn out to be a relief for Josh to leave the Washington County Jail in Arkansas, where he’s been since December, when he was convicted. I have heard that prison is much better than jail is, if only because prisoners are freer to move around, and there’s more to do. Jails are intended to be temporary, so there usually isn’t much for prisoners. They are locked down a lot more. At prison, Josh can get a job and maybe further his education. And his children might have a fighting chance of growing up with less chance of abuse, although given that they are probably going to be taken care of by Jim Bob, it’s definitely not an ideal situation.
Josh’s attorneys will appeal the sentence. I doubt it will go anywhere, but one never knows. For now, I suppose we can await the news that he’s been transferred to whichever facility he goes to in Texas. I suspect the drive down there will be pretty horrible. But twelve years isn’t so long. Twelve years ago, I lived in Georgia, and this blog was in its infancy on Blogger. Those years have gone by in a blur. So, while I wouldn’t want to do twelve years in prison… or twelve hours, this isn’t so bad for Josh. But he better watch himself. And in case anyone is wondering, yes… I think he will get in trouble again. I will be very surprised if Josh doesn’t end up back in prison at some point, after he’s released. We’ll see what happens.