WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Best-selling author John Grisham believes the U.S. has "gone crazy" with imprisoning men who view and download child pornography.
Grisham was discussing his new book, Gray Mountain, in an interview when he revealed his thoughts about the cause of high prison rates in the U.S.
"We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child," he told The Telegraph. "But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn."
His perspective comes from an experience of one of his friends from law school who was imprisoned after being caught in a child pornography sting.
His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled 'sixteen year old wannabee hookers or something like that'. And it said '16-year-old girls'. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff -- it was 16 year old girls who looked 30. He shouldn't 'a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys. He didn't touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: 'FBI!' and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people - sex offenders - and he went to prison for three years.
Grisham made a point to say he has no sympathy for pedophiles, but said they must be distinguished from people who view child pornography.
Analysis of the prison system in the U.S. has repeatedly shown that African-American men are more likely to be imprisoned due to the country's strict drug laws.