In California, prostitution is an act that many politicians and lawmakers are trying to better understand. As it stands, someone convicted of exchanging sex for money for a second time is punished with mandatory jail time. No matter the crime, jail time may greatly impact a person’s life and future in a negative way. But many lawmakers are seeking an alternative with a bill that could remove the mandatory sentencing for prostitution.
Bill Approved by Senate
Earlier this month, the California Senate voted to approve a bill that would end the state’s mandatory jail sentencing for repeat offenders who engage in prostitution. Under California’s current law, a second prostitution conviction is punishable by a minimum of 45 days in jail. A third or subsequent offense raises the time to 90 days.
It is also possible for the court to restrict the person’s driving privileges for up to six months if the act of prostitution occurs within 1,000 feet of private residences.
Concerns over Human Trafficking
Democratic Senator William Monning authored Senate Bill 1129, which was approved by a vote of 23-14 and will now go to the Assembly. The bill is reflective of growing concerns that many charged with prostitution are victims of human trafficking or addicts in need of treatment rather than incarceration.
The debate focuses on whether prostitutes are criminals or victims. Monning has stated that the mandatory jail sentences currently in place for prostitution are overly harsh as well as being flawed. Additionally, this approach isn’t a deterrent to prostitution and discourages victims of sex trafficking who rely on sex work for survival.
The bill is a part of a nationwide movement that is attempting to reduce the amount of non-violent offenders in jail. Including Bill 1129, about 40 trafficking-related measures are being presented to lawmakers in California during this session. This approach shows an interest in understanding why people resort to prostitution and why they continue down this path despite serving jail time.
Monning noted that prostitution may also relate to drug and alcohol use. By simply sending prostitution offenders to jail, they are not being treated and more likely to fall back into criminal patterns. One of the anti-trafficking measures presented to California lawmakers includes creating a task force that would gather more information on sex trafficking and develop new ways to respond to it. Another initiative is being supported that would roll back mandatory sentencing guidelines involving punishment aside from jail time.
Contact the Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or someone you love is facing charges for a sex crime, then you need a skilled defense attorney at your side. At Wallin & Klarich, our sex crimes attorneys have helped clients build a winning legal defense against these serious charges for more than 35 years. We know what it will take to win your case.
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