Tired of arresting and re-arresting prostitutes, some cities increasingly are targeting their clients with shame, says USA Today. A two-year study for the federal National Institute of Justice, led by researcher Michael Shively, found more than 200 communities that have tried targeting customers of prostitution in print, on TV, the Internet, billboards or by sending “Dear john” letters home. Shively, of Abt Associates in Cambridge, Ma., said his list now includes about 280 examples. Chicago, New York, Denver, St. Louis and Madison, Wi., are among the cities that publicize arrests or send letters home.
University of Wisconsin Law School professor Michael Scott said police turn to humiliation as a low-cost strategy, but it doesn’t deter prostitutes. Scott said it’s more effective at scaring away customers, and new clients replace them. Asheville, N.C., police began showcasing arrested prostitutes and their clients on the city’s Web site and television channel in February. The move has drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union. “Our argument is, it’s punishment prior to conviction,” said the ACLU’s Katy Parker.