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A New Punishment for Sex Solicitors in Colorado?

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As we noted last week, prostitution in Denver is on the rise. It seems state Senate President Brandon Shaffer is hoping to have an impact with a bill that proposes to change how offenders jailed for soliciting prostitutes are treated. Under the bill, first-time offenders could avoid jail and fines if they successfully complete a program that aims to teach them “how their actions were tied to the broader problems of human trafficking and the sex trade,” the Longmont Democrat tells the Daily Times-Call.

The “john schools” would give prosecutors the discretion to offer a misdemeanor to a first-time offender for a plea bargain: The offender would plead guilty, and the sentence would be deferred for two years and erased from the record if there are no other offenses. Boulder attorney Beth Klein, who’s been working with Shaffer on his bill, prefers to call the schools “a solicitation-diversion program,” adding, “We have to look at the young girl or young man” who is often being forced to engage in those sex acts, but “we also have to look at the demand side,” or “the problem’s never going to go away.”

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