07 Apr Rikers Proposal Would Decriminalize Prostitution in New York City
And Mayor McFeelings reminds us all why we all think he’s the worst.
I was talking to my mom the other day about Mayor De Blasio, and the general consensus amongst New Yokers that he sucks. I couldn’t spell it out more specifically for her, really, but if you ask pretty much anyone who lives in the city, they’ll agree that he’s basically been sucking nonstop since he got into that office.
This week, the New York Post (I know. I know. Eyeroll emoji), reminded us why it’ll be so good to get someone else into that position soon:
A report from the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform says Albany lawmakers should consider reclassifying prostitution as a civil offense rather than a criminal one, which would essentially let hookers off with a summons instead of sending them to jail.
“The modern thinking on this is that the defendants in prostitution cases, whether it’s around the world or around the corner, are victims,” commission chairman and former state Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said Sunday while formally releasing the report.
“They need help, those people, and the law enforcement have to get the real perpetrators of this, not the victims: the traffickers, whether it’s the pimp who is standing 10 blocks from here and doing this or whether it’s these big cartels who victimize somebody.”
So, that’s a commission that, all they do, is review existing criminal justice policies and craft proposals for how to incarcerate fewer people, and do less harm to those that (it could be argued) are victims and not strictly criminal masterminds. And that commission is chaired by a highly respected former state Chief Judge, Jonathan Lippman.
And the recommendation of that judge and that commission was that prostitution should be reclassified (the way public urination or possession of small amounts of marijuana have been) to be a civil offense (resulting in a summons, vs. a go-directly-to-jail situation), instead of a criminal offense. This would result in fewer people going to actual jail for violations, fewer man hours spent policing and investigating prostitution, and dramatically less money spent on court costs.
Mayor DeBlasio, though, wanted to be clear that neither he or his administration agreed that this commission knew what they were talking about:
So we’ll just keep chucking city, state, and federal money down the toilet on multimillion dollar investigations and prosecutions like this one, that go nowhere, save no one, and make sex work drastically more dangerous for the millions of people who operate in that space. Instead of doing a thing that would help people, cost less money, and help reduce prison populations.
When’s election day, again?