John school is a newish solution to an age-old problem: Prostitution and the men who buy it.
What does it take to get in? Solicit a prostitute on the streets of Los Angeles and get caught once (v. important, for two-timers go to jail). Once there men are yelled at for eight hours and shown, vividly, what can go wrong in the money-for-sex exchange. They see photos of men beaten up by pimps and closeups of bodies inflamed with STDs. And that's just the morning! In the afternoon, they listen to recovering sex addicts and former prostitutes tell their stories, getting a glimpse of the abuse that circulates through prostitution rings. Tuition is $600.
What's in it for graduates? A second chance in exchange for a promise (sealed with a jail threat) to change their ways. Misdemeanor solicitation charges loom overhead for one year, but are dropped for those who make it through with no arrests.
The no-nonsense, exhaustive class is meant to be impersonal, terrifying, and not at all therapeutic. And that's exactly why so many sociologists are surprised it works. Yet if a similar program in San Francisco, which cut recidivist rates by 30 percent, is any indication, it does. To find out why,
Most johns are dabblers not deviants."These guys fall into one of three basic categories," a researcher who studied the San Francisco program said. "Sad sacks who are looking for a girlfriend-like experience; those who don't want to deal with the emotional component of a relationship and just want the sex; and thrill seekers. Only a very small number are actual sociopaths."
Well! There you go. Most aren't crazy. But that doesn't address (not that the justice systems cares) the underlying loneliness that sends lost men looking in the first place.