His actions horrified a nation, but is Josh Duggar in jail?
The latest true crime documentary, the four-part limited series Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets—which premiered on Prime Video on Friday, June 2—focuses on the many scandals that have tarnished the squeaky-clean reputation of the Duggar clan, the former stars of the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting.
Along with details about the family's controversial religion, The Institute in Basic Life Principles—cultish Christian groups have dominated the true-crime genre of late, from the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints of Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey to the Branch Davidians from Waco: American Apocalypse—the docuseries delves into the shocking sexual abuse that eldest son Josh Duggar performed on several children, including some of his own siblings.
But was he jailed for these terrifying crimes? Here's what we know.
Is Josh Duggar in jail? How long is his sentence?
Yes, Josh Duggar is serving his prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Seagoville in Dallas, Texas. On April 29, 2021, the firstborn Duggar sibling was arrested by U.S. Marshals on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography on the hard drive of his home computer. His trial began on November 30 of that year—ten days later, a jury found Duggar guilty.
He was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison, with an original release date of August 12, 2032. Still, that release has been rescheduled three times since—first to October 1 of that year, then October 10—due to Duggar allegedly having a cell phone while in prison. Per In Touch, he was moved to the FCI facility's Special Housing Unity, a.k.a. solitary confinement for the infraction.
However, it's not the first instance of sexual depravity from the husband of 14 years and father of seven children. Back in 2015, the then-27-year-old Duggar son was accused of molesting multiple underage girls, including four of his own sisters, when he was 14 to 15 years old. The revelations lead to Duggar's resignation from his job as executive director of a political lobbying committee and the cancellation of his family's TV series, 19 Kids and Counting.
Authorities originally began investigating the child sexual abuse claims back in 2006, but the statute of limitations had expired, and Duggar was not charged. Instead, according to the docuseries, Duggar was sent by his parents to an Advanced Training Institute (ATI), a facility for "troubled boys" in Little Rock, Arkansas that was owned by Institute in Basic Life Principles founder Bill Gothard.
The Prime Video series features interviews with Jill Duggar Dillard, Josh Duggar's younger sister and one of his victims, who breaks her silence for the first time on what occurred in her family. “I believe strongly that victims should always be protected. Victims should always be cared for,” Jill says in the documentary. “You’re out there, your story’s out there…I’d rather have some say in what that looks like.”
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Is Josh Duggar still married?
Josh Duggar and his wife Anna—whom he wed on September 26, 2008, when they were both 20 years old, at the Buford Grove Baptist Church in Hilliard, Florida—are still legally married. The couple shares seven children: Mackynzie, Michael, Marcus, Meredith, Mason, Maryella and Madyson.
Before his imprisonment, Duggar was revealed to be an Ashley Madison user in August 2015 after hackers stole customers’ information on the cheating website, which allows users to pay to be paired up with an extramarital partner.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” Duggar released in a statement.
As for rekindling their relationship upon Duggar's release in 2032: “Anna doesn’t want to get her hopes up, and while he’ll always be the father of her children, she’s not sure if there is a future with Josh,” a source told In Touch back in September 2022. “As far as I know she still communicates with Josh, but in her heart, all she has left is her children and her faith.”
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is available to stream on Prime Video
Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life.
More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.
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