Txcjc Effective Approaches Reducing Prostitution 2013
Download original document:
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
Effective Approaches for Reducing Prostitution in Texas: Photo by David Selsky Proactive and Cost-Efficient Strategies to Help People Leave the Streets ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Report Designer Kim Wilks For more information, please contact: Ana Yáñez-Correa, Ph.D. ExecuƟve Director 1714 Fortview Road, Suite 104 AusƟn, Texas 78704 (work) 512-441-8123, ext. 109 (mobile) 512-587-7010 acorrea@TexasCJC.org 2013 The Texas Criminal JusƟce CoaliƟon (TCJC) works with peers, policy-makers, pracƟƟoners, and community members to idenƟfy and promote smart jusƟce policies that safely reduce the state’s costly over-reliance on incarceraƟon – creaƟng stronger families, less taxpayer waste, and safer communiƟes. © 2013 Texas Criminal JusƟce CoaliƟon. All rights reserved. Any reproducƟon of the material herein must credit the Texas Criminal JusƟce CoaliƟon. A FAILED APPROACH TO PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS The diversion of individuals with low-level, nonviolent oﬀenses from the criminal jus ce system has not only been shown to improve public safety; it has also resulted in significant cost savings for state prison systems.1 Diversion programs have proven especially successful in re-direc ng individuals with mental illness and addic on issues away from incarcera on and toward much needed treatment services. Individuals who engage in sex work are far more likely to suﬀer from mental illness, drug and alcohol addic on, and past trauma than both the general popula on and many other individuals entering the criminal jus ce system.2 The proven eﬀec veness of diversion programs when applied to similar popula ons compels us to believe that an increase in the number of pros tu on diversion programs in Texas will posi vely impact public health and public safety while simultaneously saving taxpayer dollars. Texas incarcerates sex workers at a higher rate than most other states, and it is the only state in the na on to charge individuals engaging in pros tu on with a felony.3 This puni ve approach has not significantly deterred individuals from pros tu on or decreased the number of pros tu on arrests. Instead, Texas’ policies have resulted in high costs associated with policing, prosecu ng, and incarcera ng these individuals, and they have created collateral consequences for the arrested individuals themselves and the communi es where pros tu on occurs.4 Indeed, individuals face lifelong barriers associated with convic on, including limited access to housing and employment, while communi es struggle to address popula ons that are under-employed or homeless, and draining local budgets. Pros tu on diversion programs throughout the country, including one in Dallas, have a proven track record of success in oﬀering individuals a safe exit from pros tu on. Based on an examina on and considera on of these successful models, the Texas Criminal Jus ce Coali on urges legislators to consider expanding such programs throughout the state. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 1 www.TexasCJC.org Photo by Ashley Webb Who Are Sex Workers? The majority of individuals who engage in pros tu on are low-income females who have suﬀered childhood abuse and sexual assault, and who are aﬄicted with mental illness and/or struggling with drug and/ or alcohol abuse.5 Poor people of color: Although only 10-20% of pros tu on occurs on the streets, the majority of law enforcement ac vity focused on pros tu on targets street solicita on. Since those working on the streets are dispropor onally poor people of color, this leads to the dispropor onate incarcera on of low-income individuals and people of color.6 Although only 10-20% of pros tu on occurs on the streets, the majority of law enforcement ac vity targets street solicita on, dispropor onately impac ng poor people of color. Vic ms of violence and abuse, many of whom suﬀer from PTSD: Women and transgendered7 individuals experience significantly more violence during sex work than men, although men are vic mized as well.8 Not surprisingly, several studies reveal a high and ever-increasing rate of incidents of Post Trauma c Stress Disorder (PTSD) among pros tutes. PTSD results from a direct experience that involves actual or threatened injury or death, or witnessing an event that causes the death or injury of someone else. It can also result from learning about the unexpected or violent death of, or inflic on of harm on, a family member or close associate. When such death or injury is caused by another person, as is the case with the assault and abuse experienced by sex workers, PTSD may be especially severe or long las ng. With a majority of sex workers repor ng a history of childhood physical and sexual abuse, and with more than 68% of pros tutes repor ng being vic ms of rape since entering the pros tu on business, there is no doubt that many of these individuals suﬀer from PTSD.9 This fact must be taken into account when determining the most eﬀec ve way to serve this popula on.10 Homeless, and struggling with addic on and other disorders: Frequently, sex workers report being homeless or previously having been homeless. In many cases, homelessness contributed to an individual’s decision to engage in pros tu on, this line of work being the only viable means to aﬀord housing and food.11 In a study published by Pros tu on Research and Educa on, 75% of surveyed pros tutes also reported a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Furthermore, research has revealed that individuals who engage in pros tu on suﬀer from chronic medical condi ons at a dispropor onally high rate.12 Without comprehensive services in place, it is not easy for pros tutes to simply abandon their primary means of support. Accordingly, any program hoping to oﬀer pros tutes a viable and sustainable alterna ve to sex work must provide assistance with housing, educa on, healthcare, employment, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling.13 Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 3 www.TexasCJC.org Prostitution in Texas The Criminalization of Prostitution In Texas: History and Ramifications Throughout American history, states have experienced both periods of enforcement and periods of tacit acceptance of pros tu on. During World War II, the United States experienced a renewed eﬀort to criminalize pros tu on, a trend based on the fear that sexually transmi ed diseases would threaten the health of the military. Following a resurgence of pros tu on in Texas ci es a er the war, civic, religious, and media groups launched an aggressive campaign aimed at intensifying the public’s concern with pros tu on. As of the 1980s and 1990s, city oﬃcials had a limited number of legal tools and resources to eﬀec vely address pros tu on. They therefore decided to focus their eﬀorts on what they viewed as the most publicly oﬀensive dimension of pros tu on: street solicita on.14 Despite these eﬀorts, a leading an pros tu on organiza on named Galveston as the na on’s number one hotspot for pros tu on in 1995. In addi on, the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area also experienced high levels of pros tu on, par cularly at truck stops.15 Although the Dallas Police Department would later go on to develop a model pros tu on diversion program (discussed more fully below), Texas lawmakers have focused primarily on locking people up.16 As a result, Texas has developed a reputa on for imprisoning more pros tutes than almost any other state; and, as previously men oned, it remains the only state in the na on to charge pros tutes with a felony. The nega ve ramifica ons of such a puni ve approach are significant. Besides the financial disadvantages of incarcera on, criminalizing pros tu on and incarcera ng pros tutes has proven ineﬀec ve, and it is a clear example of a policy driven by public opinion rather than systema c analysis. One theory is that criminalizing pros tu on makes it an una rac ve op on to those who might consider this line of work, and also encourages those already working as pros tutes to search for other livelihoods. Unfortunately, the current laws related to pros tu on have not only failed on both fronts, but have actually made it more diﬃcult for pros tutes to leave the profession, since once a pros tute has a criminal record, finding legi mate work becomes that much more diﬃcult. In addi on, the criminaliza on of pros tu on forces pros tutes to retreat even further from public view, making an already vulnerable popula on even more suscep ble to violence and abuse. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 5 www.TexasCJC.org EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR REDUCING PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS Texas Prostitution Laws The table below shows the charges and corresponding sentences for pros tu on in Texas, as per Sec on 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code. Oﬀense Charge Sentence & Fine First Oﬀense Class B Misdemeanor No more than 180 days and/ or no more than a $2,000 fine Second Oﬀense Class A Misdemeanor No more than 1 year and/ or no more than a $4,000 fine Third Oﬀense + State Jail Felony 180 days to 2 years and/ or no more than a $10,000 fine The law that has resulted in Texas being the only state in the na on to make pros tu on a felony was enacted in 2001. If an individual has been convicted of pros tu on on three or more occasions, he or she will subsequently be charged with a felony and sent to state jail or prison. NOTE: Grounds for exemp on from prosecu on for pros tu on include intoxica on, entrapment, age, duress, lack of knowledge, and the absence of money being received for sexual contact.17 Texas Prostitution Laws in Practice In the summer of 2012, the Aus n American-Statesman es mated that there are currently 350 individuals serving me in state jail or prison due to pros tu on convic ons, although at the me of the report not even one person was serving me due to solicita on of pros tu on services. (The report did not detail the number of individuals who cycle in and out of local jails for pros tu on oﬀenses every year; that data is diﬃcult to obtain in any standardized format across Texas’ 254 coun es.) As the chart to the right shows, 94% of all individuals incarcerated in Texas state prisons for pros tu on come from only four coun es. This illustrates the need for a targeted approach, whereby diversion programs are implemented in specific communi es. It costs an average of $15,500 to $18,538 annually to house an individual in a state jail or prison, while par cipa on in a community-based rehabilita on program costs only $4,300 per individual per year. The repeal Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Individuals Incarcerated for IndividualsIncarceratedfor Prostitution, By County Prostitution,ByCounty Tarrant Dallas Bexar Harris 0% 5% 6 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% www.TexasCJC.org EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR REDUCING PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS of the 2001 law and the increased use of pros tu on diversion programs could result in savings of over $4 million annually, money that could instead be funneled into much needed treatment programs.18 Given Texas’ ongoing budget deficit, the fiscally sensible choice for the state would be to treat individuals convicted of pros tu on in their own communi es at one-fourth the cost that the state currently incurs for incarcera ng these individuals. Human Trafficking in Texas Human traﬃcking – the sale, transport and profit from human beings who are forced to work for others – is the modern equivalent of slavery. (It is important to note that vic ms of human traﬃcking are no longer prosecuted according to pros tu on laws but are instead provided with the services and assistance they need to escape their exploita on.) While not all individuals working as pros tutes are vic ms of human traﬃcking, it is diﬃcult to discuss pros tu on without addressing this serious issue. The I-10 corridor in Texas (from the El Paso area through San Antonio and Houston, to Louisiana) has been iden fied by the Department of Jus ce as one of the main routes for human traﬃcking in the United States. In 2006, 25% of all individuals cer fied in the United States as vic ms of human traﬃcking were cer fied in Texas. Human traﬃcking is a problem in the state largely due to its long border with Mexico, its diverse demographics, and a large migrant labor force.19 Since many individuals working as pros tutes began their pros tu on careers when, as vic ms of human traﬃcking, they were forced to perform this work, it is absolutely impera ve that law enforcement agencies and members of programs working with pros tutes are well versed on the issue. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 7 www.TexasCJC.org More Effective Approaches to Prostitution Offenses In order to significantly reduce the number of individuals working as pros tutes, a coordinated approach that addresses the various problems and needs of this popula on over a longer period of me is cri cal. There are a number of pros tu on diversion programs opera ng throughout the country and world, including ones here in Texas. These programs diﬀer in many ways, but generally share two important characteris cs: they treat individuals engaged in pros tu on as vic ms rather than criminals, and they oﬀer an array of services that enable sex workers to find other livelihoods if they so choose. Prostitute Diversion Initiative (PDI) The Pros tute Diversion Ini a ve (PDI) in Dallas became opera onal in 2007 and has drawn upon a vast array of community-based resources, engaging a broad range of organiza ons in an eﬀort to help individuals exit pros tu on. The Dallas Police Department took the lead in developing this diversion program in response to its realiza on that its aggressive focus on enforcement at Dallas truck stops only served to move the foot traﬃc from the streets into the big rigs themselves. The Department was experiencing a nearly constant drain on resources and realized that its approach was not working. The PDI has been able to connect service providers with those in need of treatment and other help, and by engaging individuals prior to a trip to jail, the PDI not only saves money but also avoids criminalizing these individuals. The procedure used by PDI is as follows, per par cipant: 1) Admi ed into staging area through arrest or voluntary walk-in.20 2) Accompanied by a police oﬃcer and assigned an advocate.21 3) Moved to triage, consis ng of a brief assessment to determine immediate needs. 4) Provided food and clothing. 5) Provided STD screening, treatment, and educa on by the county health department mobile unit, which is onsite. 6) Provided ID cards for access to services, if needed. 7) Taken before a judge in community court.22 8) Referred/Assigned to PDI New Life, a 45-day treatment and recovery program. 9) Upon successful comple on of the New Life program, individuals become eligible for transi onal housing, job training, outpa ent mental health services, and mentorship. The following sta s cs about individuals served by the PDI provide insight into the adversity that sex workers face. This reinforces the argument that the provision of services in lieu of a more puni ve approach is not only the most eﬀec ve way to help individuals leave pros tu on, but it is also in the best interest of a community’s public health and safety.23 Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 9 www.TexasCJC.org EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR REDUCING PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS Did You Know? Nearly half of par Fi cipants had less than a high school educa on. y-nine percent of par cipants had children. Many par cipants had an array of chronic medical condi ons. Ninety-seven percent of par Fi cipants reported using drugs and/or alcohol. y-four percent of par cipants reported having a mental health condi on. Thirty-seven percent of par cipants had a empted suicide. Over half of the 182 par cipants tested for STDs screened posi ve for an STD, and 20 new cases of syphilis and 2 new cases of HIV were iden fied. Phoenix-Based Prostitution Diversion Program A similarly successful pros tu on diversion program in Phoenix helps par cipants understand their op ons, the risks they face, and how they can be er take care of their mental and physical health. Working in collabora on with other community services and employing former sex workers, the program has been able to help many individuals transi on out of pros tu on while providing substan al savings for the city.24 Multi-Purpose Diversion Program: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) LEAD is a pre-booking diversion program developed by the Sea le city government in collabora on with community interest groups to address low-level drug crime in a more cost eﬀec ve and sustainable manner. This program diverts individuals engaged in low-level drug ac vity into community-based services in an a empt to improve public safety and public order, while reducing the criminal behavior of the program’s par cipants. Proponents of LEAD argue that the program can reduce the recidivism rates for individuals with low-level oﬀenses, allowing the criminal jus ce system to more eﬀec vely focus its resources on those commi ng more serious, violent crimes. The developers and supporters of LEAD believe that for the program to be a success, there must be: 1) adequately trained staﬀ and oﬃcers; 2) clear policies and protocols; 3) immediate access to needed programs for par cipants; 4) funding allocated solely for direct services; 5) use of peer outreach workers and case managers; 6) the involvement of community leaders and stakeholders; 7) cultural competency; and 8) a commitment to reinves ng savings in preventa ve social service programs. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 10 “It’s nuts that we’ve got this many pros tutes in prison, people that we’re not afraid of, but we’re just mad at. By locking them up, we’re not fixing the problem — we’re just spending a lot of money incarcera ng them, warehousing them, when we could be spending a lot less ge ng them treatment so they can get out and stay out of this business.” Senator John Whitmire, Aus n American-Statesman, August 25, 2012 www.TexasCJC.org EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR REDUCING PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS Though the LEAD program was developed in response to low-level drug oﬀenses, it is a model that can easily be applied to the diversion of pros tutes from the criminal jus ce system. A er a careful examina on of the eﬃcacy of their criminal jus ce policies, Sea le oﬃcials realized that the city’s policies regarding low-level drug oﬀenses were neither cost-eﬀec ve nor financially sustainable, and they did not result in significant long-term reduc ons in low-level drug oﬀenses. Oﬃcials recognized that the need for fiscal austerity presented a unique opportunity to be innova ve and pragma c in the iden fica on and implementa on of new solu ons to age-old problems.25 We encourage Texas policy-makers to adopt a similar a tude of innova on and pragma sm when developing new programs designed to reduce rates of pros tu on in our state. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 11 www.TexasCJC.org Cost-Saving and Public Safety-Driven Solutions The Case for Prostitution Diversion Programs in Texas Between 2006 and 2009, 14,019 individuals with a variety of oﬀenses have been re-routed from prison to felony proba on with no visible nega ve impact on public safety. In fact, between 2007 and 2010, the state’s crime rate decreased by 9%.26 By contrast, incarcera on has been proven to destabilize both individuals and communi es, making problems even worse. Individuals become involved with pros tu on for a variety of reasons. It may be a conscious, voluntary decision; it may be a means of survival; or it may have been forced upon them. Whatever the reasons, experiences of violence, childhood abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, and homelessness are common denominators shared by the vast majority of pros tutes. There have been no studies that have shown pros tu on to be a significant danger to public safety, whereas a tradi on of puni ve responses to pros tu on has clearly demonstrated the high social and economic costs. The development of pros tu on diversion programs that oﬀer cri cal services to individuals engaged in pros tu on is, to date, the only proven method to oﬀer pros tutes a viable and permanent exit, while simultaneously saving the state and coun es much needed funds and posi vely impac ng both public health and public safety. Four Critical Solutions For the above reasons, the Texas Criminal Jus ce Coali on encourages Texas decision-makers at both the state and county level to: 1) Develop and implement pros tu on diversion programs in Harris, Tarrant, and Bexar coun es, and provide the resources necessary to make such programs a success. 2) Con nue to support Dallas’ Pros tute Diversion Ini a ve. 3) Develop a system to track all pros tu on cases in Texas and their corresponding sentences and outcomes, so decision-makers can be er understand the scope of the problem and respond with eﬀec ve and appropriate policies. 4) Repeal the 2001 law that s pulates a felony convic on following a third convic on for pros tu on. With these measures, Texas will undertake a more eﬀec ve, realis c approach to preven ng and addressing pros tu on. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 13 www.TexasCJC.org Endnotes 1 Cowell, Alexander, Nahama Broner, & Randolph Dupont. “The Cost-Eﬀec veness of Criminal Jus ce Diversion Programs for People with Serious Mental Illness Co-Occurring with Substance Abuse.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Jus ce 20, no. 3 (2004): 292-315. 2 Farley, Melissa & Barkan, Howard. “Pros tu on, Violence, and Pos rauma c Stress Disorder.” Women & Health 27, no. 13 (1998): 37-49. 3 Ward, Mike. “Texas Rethinks Law Making Repeat Pros tu on a Felony.” Aus n American-Statesman, August 25, 2012. 4 Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, Kris ne Hickle, Martha Perez Loubert, & Tom Egan. “Adult Pros tu on Recidivism: Risk Factors and Impact of a Diversion Program.” Journal of Oﬀender Rehabilita on 50, no. 5 (1990): 272-85. 5 Farley, Melissa & Howard Barkan. “Pros tu on, Violence, and Pos rauma c Stress Disorder.” Women & Health 27, no. 13 (1998): 37–49. 6 Meier, Robert & Gilbert Geis. Criminal Jus ce and Moral Issues. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 7 Transgender people are those whose psychological self (“gender iden ty”) diﬀers from the social expecta ons for the physical sex they were born with. 8 Meier, Robert & Gilbert Geis. Criminal Jus ce and Moral Issues. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 9 Farley, Melissa & Howard Barkan. “Pros tu on, Violence, and Pos rauma c Stress Disorder.” Women & Health 27, no. 13 (1998): 37–49. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Felini, Martha, Amy Abraham, & Goria Mendoza. “Annual Report: October 2008 - September 2009 Pros tu on Diversion Ini a ve.” In Annual Report. Dallas: Dallas Police Department, 2010. 14 Humphrey, David. “Pros tu on in Texas: From the 1830s to the 1960s.” East Texas Historical Journal 33 (1995): 27–43. See also: Mackey, Thomas. Red Lights Out: A Legal History of Pros tu on, Disorderly Houses, and Vice Districts, 1870-1917. New York: Garland, 1987. 15 Mackey, Thomas. Red Lights Out: A Legal History of Pros tu on, Disorderly Houses, and Vice Districts, 18701917. New York: Garland, 1987. 16 Ward, Mike. “Texas Rethinks Law Making Repeat Pros tu on a Felony.” Aus n American-Statesman August 25, 2012. 17 Texas Pros tu on Laws. h p://www.statelaws.findlaw.com/texas-law/texas-pros tu on-laws.html 18 Ward, Mike. “Texas Rethinks Law Making Repeat Pros tu on a Felony.” Aus n American-Statesman August 25, 2012. 19 A Report of the Texas Advisory Commi ee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. “Human Traﬃcking in Texas: More Resources and Resolve Needed to Stem Surge of Modern Day Slavery.” August 2011. 20 As PDI is a police opera on, all voluntary walk-in par cipants will be subject to search, outstanding warrant check, and debrief by the Vice Unit. 21 Advocates are o en former pros tutes and are thus well posi oned to oﬀer support. 22 Judge can use Class C misdemeanor oﬀenses as leverage to persuade prosecutors to accept treatment in lieu of jail me. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 15 www.TexasCJC.org EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR REDUCING PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS 23 Felini, Martha; Abraham, Amy; & Mendoza, Gloria. “Annual Report: October 2008 - September 2009 Pros tu on Diversion Ini a ve.” In Annual Report. Dallas: Dallas Police Department, 2010. (Reference for en re discussion of Dallas Pros tu on Diversion Ini a ve) 24 Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, Kris ne Hickle, Martha Perez Loubert, & Tom Egan. “Adult Pros tu on Recidivism: Risk Factors and Impact of a Diversion Program.” Journal of Oﬀender Rehabilita on 50, no. 5 (1990): 272-85. 25 The Defender Associa on-Racial Disparity Project. “Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): A Pre-Booking Diversion Model for Low-Level Drug Oﬀenses.” Sea le. 26 Federal Bureau of Inves ga on, Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Department of Jus ce; accessible at h p://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/StatebyState.cfm; see Texas’ violent and property crime rates for 2007 and 2010. Texas Criminal Justice Coalition 16 www.TexasCJC.org Photo by David Selsky 1714 Fortview Road, Suite 104 Austin, Texas 78704 (512) 441-8123 www.TexasCJC.org