StandUSA Faith: Run Date Monday, October 29th, 2012
- As most prostitutes are arrested repeatedly, the Dallas Police Department teamed with local social services to create the Prostitution Diversion Initiative (PDI) program.
- Once arrested, prostitutes have a choice: go to jail, or enter the program.
- The solution has been very successful in helping reduce prostitution.
- Catch Phrase: Dallas Cops Give Hookers a Choice: Jail or Jesus
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Dallas Cops give Prostitutes a Choice: Jail or Jesus
Authorities in Dallas are grappling with prostitution through some uncommon measures. Rather than sending prostitutes directly to jail, officers are giving them a unique opportunity to turn their lives around, get off the streets and begin a process of life-altering transformation.
To combat the illegal activity, which has apparently become quite pervasive, the Dallas Police Department launched the Prostitution Diversion Initiative (PDI) five years ago: a combined effort of police forces, social services and other local groups. Officers found themselves frustrated by the prospect of arresting the same women repeatedly, CBN News reports. So they created a solution — one that has been wildly successful in helping people escape cycles of criminal activity.
“It allows us to move the prostitutes from the wheel of going around in the criminal justice system on a regular basis to moving into a recovery mode,” explains Dallas Police Lt. Mike Coleman. “We realized we were not going to arrest our way out of this. When you treat them as a victim, that’s what allows them to get the services that they need for whatever is ailing them, be it drug addiction, be it whatever counseling needs they have, for whatever it is that’s causing them to be engaged in this lifestyle.”
Once arrested, the detainee is taken to a remote book-in, where the field operations are being held. After testing, she is taken before an on-site judge. The judge determines if the detainee is to be transported to the Dallas County Jail, or enrolled in one of the treatment centers available on-site, according to her criminal history and other factors. These women have the opportunity to either accept the offer, or go to jail. Being proactive and giving these women the necessary tools to be productive citizens not only benefits the women and the surrounding communities — it also allows law enforcement to take a less reactive approach to prostitution.
After completion of the program, women are encouraged to begin new and improved lives. Volunteers help them locate homes, connect with family members and gain employment, among other key services.
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