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your thoughts on 'john school'?


glutes
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Every two months, Valentina visits about 30 men enrolled in San Francisco's "john school" to tell them a sex story they don't want to hear.

 

The men are part of the city's First Offender Prostitution Program because they've been arrested for soliciting a prostitute, usually in the Mission or Tenderloin. If they agree to pay a $1,000 fee and spend a Saturday afternoon listening to sex-trafficking experts, neighborhood activists and doctors who subject them to photographs of venereal diseases, the district attorney's office will drop the misdemeanor charge.

 

Valentina, a striking Russian woman with jet-black hair (to protect her privacy, her full name is not given in this article), explains how she was molested from age 8 to 13 by a cousin; how she was a full-blown alcoholic and heroin addict at 21; how she became an "escort" a year later, and by age 25 was working Mission Street.

 

She hated every interaction with every client.

 

"Sometimes I see it register on their faces," said Valentina, 37, a mother and San Francisco resident who's been off the streets and sober for 10 years. "The fantasy isn't what they thought. ... I don't get much feedback from them. I do my presentation and go about my day."

 

Yet Valentina's presentation as well as the other components of john school are effective, according to a study to be released in the coming weeks by the U.S. Department of Justice. In the largest study of its kind, researchers concluded that men who attended San Francisco's john school were 30 percent less likely to be rearrested for soliciting a prostitute than men who did not attend such a program.

 

Researchers compared data collected from 5,000 johns who completed the daylong class in San Francisco over the past 12 years with roughly 75,000 men arrested for soliciting prostitutes in California who did not attend john schools. The costs of the school are covered by the men's fees, according to the district attorney's office.

 

"The punch line is, these programs work," said Michael Shively, a criminologist at Abt Associates, a Massachusetts-based research firm and the primary author of the two-year study commissioned by the National Institute of Justice. "Some men are probably responding to the appeal of their own self interests, which in the class emphasizes the personal risk they face if they continue to involve themselves in prostitution. And some men may be responding to the information conveyed about the harm they are causing the women they hire, and to the communities where the prostitution takes place."

 

The study arrives at the same time Supervisor Jake McGoldrick asked for an audit of the city's program, wondering if the arrests are worthwhile and the money for the program is being well spent. He did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

 

When the First Offender Prostitution Program began in 1996, it was considered a noble experiment in a progressive city. Since then, 39 cities have modeled programs after San Francisco's.

 

The class was co-founded by Norma Hotaling, a former street prostitute arrested 30 times before she gained sobriety and started Standing Against Global Exploitation, a San Francisco group committed to ending commercial sexual traffic.

 

Hotaling said a San Francisco police officer who repeatedly arrested her was the first to suggest that her johns needed an education instead of jail time. Hotaling recalled the advice and later developed the curriculum, which includes a six-hour course featuring multiple speakers who explain the negative impact prostitution has on women, their clients and the communities where it thrives.

 

More recently, Hotaling said, presentations have focused on global sex trafficking, to help men consider their role in the illegal phenomenon.

 

"The men who seek out prostitutes don't like to think they're part of exploiting someone," Hotaling said. "They like to believe it's a victimless crime."

 

Since the program's inception, critics have wondered if the classes had any real impact on the men and the streets, Hotaling said. Previous studies have shown that recidivism rates among men arrested for soliciting prostitutes is particularly low compared to other crimes, such as robbery.

 

Shively, the study's author, said in San Francisco the recidivism rate for such men was about 8 percent before the program began. Now, it rests at about 5 percent.

 

"It's a significant drop if you consider it didn't have much further to go," Shively said. "The results are surprising."

 

Anecdotally, the researchers also found that police departments reported street prostitution declined in the cities where the classes were available. Shively said the study could not factor what role online prostitution may have played in reducing street prostitution in the past 12 years.

 

"But for some people, it's good enough that street prostitution is out of their faces and behind closed doors," Shively said, "where the entire community doesn't have to deal with it."

 

Robert Garcia, a member of Save Our Streets Tenants and Merchants Association in Lower Nob Hill, credits the john school program as helping to reduce street prostitution in his neighborhood near Post and Hyde streets. As part of the agreement between Hotaling's organization, which facilitates the school, and the district attorney's office, which agrees to drop the charges, the Police Department is required to run eight sting operations per month designed to arrest the johns. Last year, the department arrested 335 men, up from 130 in 2006.

 

Garcia has monitored the Post and Hyde intersection near his home for about 20 years, and said he was skeptical the program would have any impact.

 

"This place used to be infested with prostitutes," Garcia said. "But we don't see as many hanging out on the corners, and we don't have as many cars circling the blocks, whistling and all that."

 

Hotaling said the study's results validate the once-experimental school, and hopes the city will expand the program.

 

"It doesn't matter if they get picked up on the streets or through a new Web site that's popped up," Hotaling said. "There's always a need for the education."

 

 

From sfgate.com: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/14/MNGE102OK5.DTL

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but for Daddy's (the site's) sake, can we please make it a policy to post the link to the original content instead of copying and pasting entire articles as if they were our own words? I read this and thought it was written by glutes, but then by googling (thanks, Doug), I saw where it was originally published. If not for copyright reasons, it's also just a nice thing to be able to see who wrote it and to give that person credit.

 

Glutes's post was written by Justin Berton for the San Francisco Chronicle, and the direct link is: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/14/MNGE102OK5.DTL

 

If you don't know where to find the URL for a story you want to link to, just look at the address bar at the top of the page, where it says http://www, etc. Copy and paste that and post it. :)

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I know you weren't trying to pull a B -- I mean, plagiarize! :p I just think that sometimes, in haste, we can forget to give credit where its due, and linking is just a good habit to get into (plus it saves bandwidth here). Thanks for editing your post to add the link.

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Well, do we think the adult male escorts we hire are exploited? Or is the kind of scenario described in this article only relevant to female and child prostitution?

 

I've never met an escort who I thought was exploited. My impression has been that they consider it a relatively pleasant way to make easy money. I may be wrong.

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Guest zipperzone

>Well, do we think the adult male escorts we hire are

>exploited? Or is the kind of scenario described in this

>article only relevant to female and child prostitution?

>

>I've never met an escort who I thought was exploited. My

>impression has been that they consider it a relatively

>pleasant way to make easy money. I may be wrong.

 

I think there is a big differance between a street prostitute (male or female) who gets their business by learing into car windows trying to entice some John to pick them up - and an escort who operates via the internet. So - it probably isn't a fair comparison.

 

BUT..... The program described in the article is a crock of shit IMHO.

By charging them $1000 to drop the charges, it is just plain extortion. And the so-called 6 hr class is just to make it sound legit. Their claim that the fine covers the cost of the program is no doubt true. I'd bet $100 would cover the cost with the rest being pure gravy.

 

They claim 5000 men have taken the course - do the math, that's five million bucks they have collected. To say it's anything but a tax grab is just plain wrong.

 

And to say the reoffend rate has been dropped from 8% to 5% is laughable. Big deal!

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Guest ncm2169

< They claim 5000 men have taken the course - do the math, that's five million bucks they have collected. To say it's anything but a tax grab is just plain wrong.

 

You got that right. The entire court system in this country is being starved. The courts have been forced to raise their own revenue to cover their costs of operation. A friend of mine recently was stopped while driving his car; in MN proof of insurance is mandatory and the third conviction within 10 years is a Gross Misdemeanor. He wasn't insured and so was charged; if convicted it would have been his third offense within 10 years. The prosecutor let him off on a plea bargain to a lesser offense, but of course there was a catch - a $750 fine.

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Guest zipperzone

>He wasn't insured and so was

>charged; if convicted it would have been his third offense

>within 10 years. The prosecutor let him off on a plea bargain

>to a lesser offense, but of course there was a catch - a $750

>fine.

 

No insurance, you say? He should count himself as a very lucky man. Not to mention stupid!

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