Some jurisdictions - in the Lone Star State, notably Dallas, which created its own specialized prostitution court - are have begun to pioneer new approaches to this problem that treat prostitutes, particularly juveniles, more as human trafficking victims than criminals, providing evidence-based supervision, services and assistance changing their lifestyle instead of only punishment. It won't always work, but neither does the traditional "catch and release" approach. State Sen. John Whitmire recently mentioned that about 300 women were locked up in TDCJ for prostitution, citing them among potential candidates for reducing inmate numbers. If the Legislature reduced felony penalties for prostitution and used some of the savings to fund specialty courts and/or dockets along the models in Dallas and now Houston, it'd be both cheaper and a lot better public policy.
See related Grits posts:
- Casey: Prostitution charges against 13-year old criminalized victimhood
- Should prostitutes be protected or prosecuted?
- Dallas to create specialized prostitution court
- What if they held a prostitution sting and nobody in the media reported it?
- Study: 3% of tricks by sex workers without pimps are 'freebies' given to police
- Cop: Snitches keep escort services in business
- Dallas' Letot Center combats prostitution among runaway girls