I hate spammers so much... but I don't think they should be sent to prison.

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - A man convicted in the nation's first felony case against illegal spamming was sentenced to nine years in prison Friday for bombarding Internet users with millions of junk e-mails. ...

A jury had recommended the nine-year term for the Raleigh, N.C., man.

Jaynes, 30, who was considered among the top 10 spammers in the world at the time of his arrest, used the Internet to peddle pornography and sham products and services such as a "FedEx refund processor," prosecutors said. Thousands of people fell for his e-mails, and prosecutors said Jaynes' operation grossed up to $750,000 per month.

In general I don't think people should be sentenced to prison for non-violent crimes. Our society over-relies on prison to punish crimes because we think it's more humane than the obvious alternatives (scourging, indentured servitude, and so forth), but in reality our prison system isn't very humane at all. (You may remember I said the same thing regarding Martha Stewart's prison sentence.) Jeremy Jaynes should be forced to return all the money he stole by defrauding people through spam and put into a community service program for a few years.



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