Online Program

Strengths and challenges of creating and implementing a prostitution court

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Joan Blakey, Ph.D., Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Daria Mueller, MSW, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee
Problem solving courts have become more widespread in recent years with the development of more than 3,500 problem solving courts (2,459-drug courts & 1,189-other problem-solving courts) in the United States. Increasingly, prostitution courts are becoming a popular type of problem-solving court with eight prostitution courts nationwide. The purpose of this study is to highlight the Reaching Independence through Self-Empowerment (RISE) program, a prostitution court focused on helping women with extensive histories of prostitution, trauma, and substance abuse create a healthier lifestyle. There is a dearth of information about prostitution courts and how these courts help women successfully exit prostitution. Data analysis revealed strengths and challenges of the RISE program in four areas: political, partnerships, programmatic, and personal investment. The political strengths were inter-disciplinary buy-in and collaboration. A political challenge was stigma associated with prostitution. A partnership strength was the ongoing, positive relationships with many social service organizations. A partnership challenge was limited judicial control over community social services. A programmatic strength was a multi-disciplinary approach to meeting women’s health, mental health, and educational/vocational needs. The programmatic challenges were being different enough from jail, sanctions and rewards and realistic expectations. Personal investment involved the ways major stakeholders were dedicated to the program and the women. Prostitution courts are an important area of study. As more states, counties, and municipalities, explore the possibility of prostitution courts, it will be important to study the impact these courts have on the health and welfare of women with histories of prostitution.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the opportunities and challenges of a prostitution court. Describe the characteristics of women most likely to participate in a prostitution court.

Keyword(s): Criminal Justice, Sex Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Chicago. Her primary research interests include trauma and substance abuse among women who are involved with the child protection and criminal justice systems, creating trauma informed systems of care, and testing the effectiveness of trauma informed interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.