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E-Shaming Johns As an Alternative to Prosecution

The Eliot Spitzer scandal may have ended today with the swearing in of David Paterson as New York's governor, but some of the questions that the incident brought to light remain.  For example, many have argued that Spitzer should not be prosecuted for soliciting a prostitute since the humiliation he's endured over disclosure of his activities serves as punishment enough. And as this article reports, many municipalities are taking a similar approach, opting to shame johns rather than prosecuting them. 
Approaches range from seizing cars of those who solicit sex, to sending "Dear john" letters to their homes to inform their families of what they've done or posting pictures of men arrested for solicitation on television.  And though the story does not discuss it, in an Internet age, communities might have the ability to e-shame johns as well.

The goal of the shaming isn't humiliation but deterrence. Presumably, the possibility of public shaming will in theory deter the conduct. But at least one city found that its public shaming program didn't result in fewer arrests -- it made the same number, but from a different segment of the community. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 17, 2008 at 05:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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