Gascon, meanwhile, said he's been getting positive feedback. "The responses
from community members, businesses -- I think people are really excited
about using this as a possible tool," Gascon told us.
Gascon praised the John School, officially called the First Offenders Prostitution Program.
"We'll not only continue them, but enhance the program," he told us.
But he said re-education wasn't going to work with every offender.
"Look, we're trying to put as many tools in the box as we can," he said, adding "It's not one approach fits all. There
are some people who are not going to be ashamed when you put them on
the Web and say they've been soliciting prostitutes."
gallery is part of Gascon's approach to addressing a rise in street-level prostitution and drug-dealing in Polk Street and Russian Hill,
which has sparked complaints from the neighborhood.
The directors of SAGE,
the nonprofit that runs the John School, declined to comment on whether
Gason's proposal of posting shaming photographs of sex customers would
complement their educational program or undermine it.
the existing program, first-time johns can choose to attend a day-long seminar on the darker sides of the sex industry rather than being prosecuted.
The hefty fee they pay for the session goes, in part, to fund outreach
programs for underage girls and women involved in sex work. The fee
also pays for police sting operations and funds the John School itself. The aforementioned 2008 study sponsored by the Department of Justice found that the John School was a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism.
In a non-committal press release sent to SF Weekly, SAGE executive
directors Francine Braae and Allen Wilson merely reiterated the
successes of their 15-year program and wrote, "We look forward to
working with Chief Gascon on improving the effectiveness of FOPP."
No doubt the city's morning radio shock jocks feel the same way.