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Counterproductivity of Incarcerating Female Street Prostitutes

NCJ Number
Deviant Behavior Volume: 22 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2001 Pages: 403-417
Maureen A. Norton-Hawk
Date Published
September 2001
15 pages
This study investigated the counterproductivity of incarcerating female street prostitutes.
The study was based on in-depth interviews with 50 incarcerated females serving terms ranging from 3 months to 1 year for prostitution-related offenses. The interviewees ranged in age from 19 to 46 years. The study noted that arresting prostitutes forced them to hide their activities, which increased the level of violence both against these women and by them. The study recommended that the punitive approach be replaced by a community-situated rehabilitative model. Developing rehabilitation programs based on the lives and experiences of street prostitutes would provide a path into legal employment. Rehabilitative programs could include diversion, education and job training, drug rehabilitation, medical intervention and health education, psychological counseling, day care, and outreach. Programs like these attack the social factors that keep women in prostitution. The study concluded that programs based on the realities of prostitutes' lives must be developed. Without an understanding of the cultural, economic, psychological, and familial bases of prostitution, the taxpayers' money is likely to perpetuate the situation that it was intended to ameliorate. Figures, references