Inside Josh Duggar's jail nightmare as he's 'threatened & verbally abused' by fellow inmates while awaiting sentencing

JOSH Duggar has been “threatened” and “verbally abused” by fellow inmates while he awaits his child pornography sentencing. 

Josh, 34, has been in Washington County Jail in Arkansas since he was found guilty of possessing and receiving child pornography on December 9.

He will remain there until his sentencing for the crimes on May 25, as he will then be transferred to federal prison. 

The Sun can exclusively reveal Josh has been “threatened” and “verbally abused” in jail, as loved ones have sent letters to the judge begging for a lenient sentence. 

Josh and Anna’s neighbor Nicole Burruss gave insight into Josh’s prison experience in her letter to the judge. 

While at Anna’s home, Josh called and “devastatingly shared that there was a man who was verbally threatening and abusive to him every time he passed his cell in solitary confinement.”

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Josh was “discouraged” by the fellow inmate, but the man “approached him to apologize.”

The letter continued: “This hardened criminal stated that he and the other men knew that Joshua was innocent. As inmates, they recognized that sometimes innocent men are in prison and they were so stunned by Joshua’s character that they were convinced of his innocence.”

Nicole then shared how Josh has helped others behind bars, as she wrote: “When Joshua was first put into jail, he shared a room with a man who had destroyed his life and needed hope. Joshua shared with him the good news about Jesus’ death for him, and told him about becoming a Christian: a new creation. 

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“The man was converted and his life dramatically changed. When he was released from jail, his wife commented that she had been praying for him for years and was amazed to see what a completely different man he was because of what Josh shared. His alcoholism ceased. He became involved in church. He had peace. 

“That man passed from Covid just 6 weeks afterward, but his family was left with the knowledge that they will see him again one day in heaven, and that is because of Joshua.”

She also explained how Anna went to church with a woman whose husband was in jail. 

The letter continued: “Joshua had been speaking with her imprisoned husband that week, and he had connected this woman with Anna and our church, even from his jail cell. Josh continues to be engaged in ministry to others, even while locked up, even when everything has been taken away.”


Neighbor Timothy Burruss also wrote a letter to the judge and gave insight into Josh's new life behind bars. 

The letter read: “Josh spends his days now leading men’s Bible studies in prison twice each day and a nightly prayer call with numerous other inmates. 

“I have spoken to him since his incarceration. His current behavior does, absolutely, represent the character of the man that I have come to know as a friend. He is a father of 7, a loving husband, an outgoing friend to all, an outspoken Christian, a man who is always willing to help out others and extend to them a second chance and a life of purpose, even if it costs him everything. 

“Please show compassion on Joshua Duggar as you determine your sentence.”


The Sun previously reported wife Anna, 33, and mother Michelle, 55, were the only immediate family members to write letters to the judge. 

Josh’s father Jim Bob and siblings snubbed him despite many attending the trial in support of their fallen family member.

Despite the snub, Josh’s legal team argued: “Duggar maintains an extremely close bond with his parents and his siblings.”


In Anna’s letter, she describes her husband of 13 years and father of her seven children as “considerate, respectful, quick to forgive, patient and genuinely the kindest person.”

Her letter read: “Joshua has worked hard to provide for me and our (now) seven children. But the happiest part of the day by far is when Daddy comes home from work, and his cheerful voice fills the house. ‘Hey, guys! How's it going? What did you learn about in school today?’ are usually the conversation starters in between greeting each of our children. 

“Joshua is an engaged dad who gladly throws a football with his sons, listens to our daughters play a new song they have learned on the piano, helps answer homework questions, or lends a hand sweeping up spilled crackers. 

“He is a kind, loving, supportive, and caring father and husband—his primary focus in life. My children and I rely on Joshua for financial, emotional, and physical support. Many others depend on Joshua, too. 

“Joshua is a man who frequently volunteers his time, services, and resources, striving to contribute to our community and people in need.”

She then recalled how her husband interacts with homeless people, financially supports his late friend’s widow, hires people in need at his car lot and more. 

Anna ended her letter with: “Joshua is surrounded by people who will encourage him to continue to become the best man, father, and employer he can be. 

“I ask that you consider reuniting us as a family again soon. I understand the seriousness of this matter, however, I respectfully ask that you take this letter into consideration when determining a fair sentence.”


Mom Michelle said in her letter that Josh has “friends and family who love and support him in his abilities to succeed as a husband, father and business owner, and man both now and in the future!”

She said her son has a “tender heart” and is “compassionate towards others.”

Her letter continued: “Joshua is a loving and patient man, striving to be a blessing and provide for his family! He has also spent quality time with his wife and children learning life skills together and going on family outings.

“Side by side, Joshua and his family have built forts, learned how to work on bicycles and other vehicles, gone camping, hiking, fished and played countless games and sports – together!”

The mother of 19 ended the letter: “As I look to his return, I stand ready to offer my continued love and encouragement to Joshua and his family and for their success in the future – together! We ask that he would be reunited with his wife and family in a timely manner.”


Josh’s legal team also begged the judge to be lenient with sentencing, as they are requesting he get just five years in prison.

The court papers read: “The 34-year-old father of seven who stands before this Court for sentencing has lived an admirable life while navigating unique challenges associated with being in the public spotlight since childhood. 

“Duggar pleaded not guilty and proceeded to trial. He now stands convicted of a serious offense and, as such, this Court must pronounce a sentence. However, in determining the appropriate sentence in this case, Duggar asks this Court to recognize him for the person he is and the person he can become.”

The document continued: “Prior to this case, Duggar had never been charged with, let alone convicted of, a single criminal offense throughout his entire life. In stark contrast, he worked exceptionally hard, has always been fully devoted to his family, and exemplified selfless acts outside of the public spotlight that speak to his true character.

“However, what speaks to Duggar’s true character is that his family remains firmly by his side and they yearn for the day when he can return home to them. His seven children and loving wife are struggling to make do without him but eagerly await the day when he will return to care for them, to love them, and to provide for them.”


Josh's legal team continued: "While the reality that Duggar is going to be sentenced to federal prison is undoubtedly frightening for Duggar himself, it has paralyzed his family with fear.

"Stated simply, any punishment imposed on Duggar is also a punishment imposed on his family."


The Sun previously reported that prosecutors are demanding the father of seven receive 20 years in prison, as the mother of one of the victims in the images has spoken out in support of the Government. 

The Government wrote in the sentencing memorium: “In consideration of the extraordinary efforts Duggar took to obtain and view child sexual abuse material (CSAM), the nature of the CSAM he obtained and viewed, his efforts to conceal his criminal conduct, and his refusal to take accountability for or acknowledge any of his criminal conduct, the Government recommends the Court impose a guideline term of imprisonment of 240 months.”


Prosecutors believe it is “important” for them to “highlight the pain his predation caused in the words of his victims.”

The court papers read: “As the parent of one of the victims depicted in the CSAM the defendant downloaded explained, her daughter became an 'anxious and fretful shadow of her former self' after being sexually abused. 

“And when addressing the harm caused by offenders like Duggar, who traffic in images depicting the worst moments of her daughter’s life, she wrote: ‘I can find no words to express the fury I feel at those who participate in this evil, or my scorn for any attempt to minimize the responsibility by feeble claims that the crime was ‘victimless.’ 

“‘My daughter is a real person. She was horribly victimized to provide this source of 'entertainment.' She is exploited anew each and every time an image of her suffering is copied, traded or sold. While the crime is clearly conscienceless, it is hardly ‘victim-less.’

The mother asked her daughter what she wanted most from the judge. 

Her request was, according to the court papers: “‘Please, don’t let them pretend no-one’s getting hurt!’” 

The victim said of Josh: “‘Don’t you know no one should do that to a little girl! Don’t you know it hurts!’”

The court documents continued: “As the mother of a child victimized by this crime, I would ask that the court take into consideration the damage done by this heartless crime to my daughter and others like her (including those children who still wait for someone to rescue them from their exploitation, and have no-one here today to speak for them) and impose a sentence that takes into account the full impact of the crime on the victims.”

The prosecution continued in their argument: “Those are the words of just one parent of just one victim. There are many more victims of Duggar’s crimes, all of whom were subjected to extreme and unimaginable instances of sexual abuse and violence. 

“Some of the victims depicted in the CSAM he downloaded and possessed, like the victim described above, have been identified and rescued. Others have not, and the pain and trauma they have experienced as a result of Duggar’s conduct will go unvoiced at the sentencing hearing.”

The Government also brought up when Josh molested minor females in the family home when he was a teenager. 

The court papers claimed: “This Court is now presented with an offender who has a history of sexually abusing minors, who has not received any treatment or therapy for this conduct to speak of, who appears unlikely to ever seek out or meaningfully participate in treatment or therapy to address this conduct, and who continues to deny any responsibility for his past or present crimes. 

“There is simply no indication that Duggar will ever take the steps necessary to change this pattern of behavior and address his predilection for minor females. 

“Given these circumstances, this Court should be particularly mindful in crafting its sentence of the likelihood that Duggar reoffends upon his release from incarceration and what his reoffending conduct will entail.”


Prosecution then went into the type of child pornography Josh downloaded, calling it “sadistic," "masochistic " and "violent.”

The court papers read: “In fact, the forensic evidence presented at trial included multiple torrent files related to a series of CSAM that has repeatedly been described by law enforcement as being among the worst of the worst.”

Prosecutors claim over 600 images of child pornography were involved in the case, as opposed to Josh’s team arguing there were 127 photos. 

District Judge Timothy L. Brooks will decide on the exact number of years based on a range determined by the Federal Sentencing Table that factors in criminal history, age of victims involved in the child sexual abuse material, number of images and more. 


Josh’s legal team filed a motion for an acquittal of the guilty verdict, a new trial, or the dismissal of the possession of child pornography charge.

A judge has not ruled on the appeal.

Josh has maintained his innocence.


Josh was arrested and charged with possessing and receiving child pornography in April 2021. 

The highly-publicized jury trial lasted two weeks before the jury submitted a guilty verdict on both counts. 

At trial, prosecutors presented damning evidence from Josh's HP computer.

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Prosecutor William Clayman provided alleged texts and photos were taken on Josh’s phone at the car lot to show he was there at the same time child pornography content was downloaded at Wholesale Motorcars.

When the verdict was read, the Counting On alum was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody at Washington County Jail.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) at 800-656-HOPE (4673).

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