Wednesday, March 30, 2005
"That woman is no criminal; she's just twisted"1
I've agreed to let Dandy try his hand here first so long as he keeps it brief and doesn't spoil the tone.
A novel presentation of Denver street-walkers has garnered sympathy for their plight and led to the creation of some diversionary programs that are a welcome alternative to jails.
Amy Herdy reports—
Seeing the same faces shuffle through the system on prostitution charges, the undercover vice detective began to collect them.
He placed arrest photo after photo of each woman in sequence, so someone could study the first innocuous picture, skim through the middle and be riveted on the last: the one that shows the ravages of living on the street, where eyes tell tales of pain and despair, anger and desperation.
He placed the photos in a black binder, and on the first page he typed, "Look at this and ask yourself if prostitution is really a victimless crime."
Now, a Denver county judge keeps a copy in his courtroom to show first offenders as he oversees a new jail-diversion program for prostitutes. The proposal for that program was written in part by a Denver official who was stunned by the photos.
A City Council member, sickened after viewing the pages, is renewing her efforts to fund a treatment program for prostitutes in Denver.
And police officers use the book in training to raise the awareness of those who believe that prostitution is only about crime.
"There's no way you can look at those photos," the undercover detective, whom department officials asked not to be identified, told The Denver Post, "and not see the victimization involved."
Last month, [Denver County Judge] Marcucci began overseeing Project Chrysalis, a new drug court program funded by the Department of Justice designed solely as a jail diversion program for prostitutes with multiple arrests.
When critics of the justice system tell him to toughen his sentences on prostitutes, Marcucci said, "I show them the book. Then they say, 'Oh, my God, we have to get these women some help."'
Thank you, Dandy. That's quite enough.