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HB 1123 would amend both the Penal and Government code to place higher penalties onto the offense of child pornography and to not grant eligibility for release on parole until the inmate’s actual calendar time is served, without consideration of good conduct time, and equals one-half of the inmate sentence.
Child pornography is an egregious crime that impacts the lives of the most vulnerable in society. It is important to ensure that sentences are appropriate and proportional to the crime. We are generally supportive of criminal justice reform bills that help to ensure that convicted criminals are not only punished, but also prepared to re-enter society as a reformed person who is able to be a productive member of society. The potential to have time off for good behavior can sometimes be useful in rehabilitation and reintegration efforts. Furthermore, while it may not be reflected in the fiscal note, there is always a cost to the state when time off for good behavior is taken off the table.
Those concerns notwithstanding, child pornography is an egregious crime and requiring people convicted of that offense to serve the full sentence term is not in itself an unjust or disproportionate punishment, nor is it inconsistent with limited government. For these reasons we are neutral on HB 1123.