Philadelphia Starts Program Tackling Prostitution Demand

A diversion program attempts to discourage men arrested for solicitation from attempting to hire a prostitute again.

The Inquirer’s Joseph A. Slobodzian reports that Philadelphia this month began a program attempting to address the demand side of prostitution.

The program, called Sexual Education and Responsibility, costs $250 and is an attempt to encourage men to refrain from paying for sex. After the participants complete the one-day, four-hour course, plead guilty to misdemeanor solicitation and pay an additional $203 fine, they’re free to go. They can even get their impounded car back, and first-time offenders can get their records expunged.

As Slobodzian writes, the program doesn’t use the word john. He also notes arrestees used to be shuffled into the Accelerated Misdemeanor Program. That leads to this fun part of the article:

[Assistant District Attorney Derek] Riker said people in the [Accelerated Misdemeanor Program] typically do work related to their offense: “People arrested for graffiti removed graffiti.”

With prostitution, that option does not exist.

Cops arrested 217 men and 994 women for prostitution last year.