This includes the protection of children and protection of people who are victims of sexual crime. As it pertains to children there should be and there are laws in place that protect them from accessing or buying pornography. In addition there must be laws in place that protect children and adults that have been victims of sexual exploitation. With this understood some pornography laws are unnecessary. For instance, people should be able to view pornography once they are 18. In some states people have to be 21 to view pornography. Many believe that when all parties involved in pornography are adults (18 and over) consenting to the activities there should be no criminality involved.
In recent months there has also been a concerted effort in some states to decriminalize the act of minors sending pictures of themselves to other minors. In most states this is treated as child pornography and minors who engage in the behavior are given the same penalty as adults who are found in possession of child porn.
C. Prostitution Laws
Some social scientists believe that the soliciting of prostitutes by men is natural (Farley 2004). In addition they contend that prostitution is just another aspect of human nature (Farley 2004). The main argument for decriminalizing in that prostitution is a form of labor and not a criminal activity. In fact in Nevada certain types of prostitution are legal. For instance, brothels are legal. They are also tightly controlled but they are legal whereas in other states they are illegal.
Opposition to the theory of victimless Crime
Although the theory of victimless crimes is a popular one. Some criminologists have also theorized that Victimless Crimes do not exist. They believe that all crimes have victims who may not be obvious at the time the crime is committed but all crimes have social implications ("Victimless Crimes"). This theory is based on the belief tat all crimes have an effect on society. For instance, neighborhoods are effected by drug use, pornography and prostitution. The presence of these elements in a neighborhood is often unwanted and can be the source of unsavory activity even if it is decriminalized. In addition families are also affected by drug use regardless of the drug because they are mind altering. Lastly, a criminologist of this ilk would argue that all crimes affect the stability of society as a whole because they can affect families and neighborhoods. This eventually becomes a problem for the entire society.
IV. Decriminalizing Victimless Crimes
Decriminalization at the state level
At the state level the decriminalizing of certain crimes seems to be rather simple. In many cases it has been done quite quickly with very little opposition form the public. In fact as it pertains to Marijuana, the public seems to be rather silent.
Decriminalization at the Federal Level
On the other hand decriminalization at the federal level is more problematic. There tends to be much more bureaucracy even when it appears that the American people support the decriminalization of certain crimes. This has been demonstrated in the sluggish effort to decriminalize marijuana.
This discussion demonstrated that victimless crimes should be decriminalized when all adult parties are consenting and when decriminalization would lead better social and economic outcomes. The research indicates that some activities that are deemed criminal may actually be less harmful if they are decriminalized. In all instances these crimes seem to only harm the people engaging in the crime and not the larger society. The research also found that decriminalization is possible at both the state and federal level. However it appears that decriminalization occurs faster at the state level.
'Dubber, M.D. (2001) Policing possession: the war on crime and the end of criminal law. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology. 91 (4) 829-996
Dubner, S.J. (2009) What Would Happen if Marijuana Were Decriminalized? A Freakonomics Quorum. http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/pot-quorum/?apage=1
Farley, M. (2004)"Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart":1 Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized. Violence Against Women, 10 (10), 1087-1125
Newbern, A.E. (2000) Good Cop, Bad Cop: Federal Prosecution of State-Legalized Medical Marijuana Use after United States v. Lopez. California Law Review, 88 (5), 1575-1634
Stylianou, S. (2004) The Role of Religiosity in the Opposition to Drug Use. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 48(4), 429-448