“John schools” are programs for men arrested for buying sex. They focus on providing education and/or therapeutic treatment for sex buyers, and the generic term covers a broad range of content, delivery modes, and how the programs fit within justice system options for sanctioning and educating offenders. In-person programs have been established in more than 70 locations in the United States, and have served sex buyers who have been arrested in more than 235 cities and counties.
John schools may be structured as a condition of a criminal sentence, in which mandatory participation is combined with other sanctions (such as fines and probation), or may be offered as a diversion option, resulting in reduced penalties or dismissed charges if successfully completed. Some john schools are one-day education classes, while others are designed as multiple-session counseling or education programs. The programs are financed by the fees or fines that arrested sex buyers pay (typically, about $400, and ranging from $0 to $1,500) for soliciting prostitution. The fees or fines usually cover all program costs, and often produce excess revenue used to fund survivor support programs. In addition to on-site classroom participation, john schools can be accessed from any location as online courses. At least eight online versions of john school courses are available nationwide, and courts in jurisdictions without traditional, in-person programs have accepted online courses to meet sentencing conditions or diversion program requirements.
A typical john school curriculum includes these topics:
- Health consequences
- Impact on communities
- Impact on prostitution and sex trafficking survivors
- Crime victimization risks
- Legal consequences
Other topics presented in john schools include:
- Male development, decision making, and responsibility
- Developing and maintaining healthy relationships
- Anger management
- Human trafficking
- Dynamics of pimping
- Sexual addiction
- Impact on spouses, children, and relationships
Variations on the one-time classroom model include:
- Multiple individual or group counseling sessions, such as those in:
- A video john school in which a DVD recording is presented to arrested sex buyers while they await processing
- Cook County, IL IL)
- Online versions of john schools, such as:
- A “roadside john school” involved a condensed presentation given to men suspected of soliciting prostitution, but who were not arrested:
To learn more about john schools and how they have been implemented, please see our Tactic Summary document (March, 2023). To access additional information about specific programs and the U.S. cities and counties where john schools have been used, you may open the “Browse Locations” window, and then select “John School” from the “Tactics” list. Similarly, the locations where john schools have been used may be mapped on Demand Forum by choosing “John School” from the list. Additional resources that can help to start, improve, and sustain john schools are provided in the links to program examples below, and on the web pages for each city or county that has implemented these programs.
Organization for Prostitution Survivors
Kansas City, KS & Kansas City, MO
Modeling Equality & Veronica’s Voice (program adapted from SSE Program, Seattle, WA)
Overview of John Schools in the U.S.
Summary of Key Traits of U.S. John Schools
Ordinances and State Laws Specifically Authorizing John Schools
John School Eligibility Criteria & Program Requirements
John School Referral Forms & Prosecution Agreements
Memorandum of Understanding Among John School Program Partners
- Atlanta John School MOU (this program was not implemented, but is offered as an example)
- San Francisco FOPP MOUs from 2002 and 2006
John School Descriptions: Curricula, Agendas, Outlines
- Buffalo John School Overview
- Fresno Prostitution Abatement/Rehabilitation Project Overview
- Indianapolis Red Zone Program Overview
- Kansas City Veronica’s Voice John School (OAR Program) Overview
- Los Angeles John School Class Agenda
- Los Angeles John School Web Page
- Louisiana John School Website (Shreveport)
- Minneapolis & St. Paul John School Curricula Outlines
- Newport News John School Program Overview and Curriculum Outline
- Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Prostitution Intervention Program (John School”)
- Portland PPOP Description, Lola Greene Baldwin Foundation (2003-2005)
- Portland’s Current John School Program Agenda (Sex Buyer Accountability and Diversion)
- Portland John Schools: Summary Table of Key Traits of Three Programs, 1996-2012
- Richmond Virginia John School Program Overview (English)
- Richmond Virginia John School Program Overview (Spanish)
- Salt Lake City John School Curriculum Outline
- San Antonio John School Brochure May 2015
- San Diego John School Summary – National Assessment
- San Diego PIP Overview Information Sheet
- San Diego PIP Overview Information Sheet – Spanish
- San Francisco FOPP Full Curriculum
- San Francisco FOPP Curriculum Summary and Observations
- Seattle John School Outline
- Seattle Men’s Accountability Program Outline
- Shreveport/Bossier City John School Outline
- Tennessee First Offender Prostitution Program Website
- Tucson STD Program Speaking Points (“Roadside John School”)
- Waco John School Overview
John School Class Handouts
- Los Angeles John School Health Presentation Outline
- Los Angeles John School Handout Sex Addiction Screener
- San Diego PIP HIV Testing Handout
- San Diego PIP HIV Testing Handout – Spanish
- San Diego PIP STD Clinic Referral Handout
- San Diego PIP STD Clinic Referral Handout – Spanish
- San Francisco FOPP Handout Sex Addicts Anonymous
- San Francisco FOPP Handout SF Department Public Health
- Worcester MA CARD Program SLAA.Sex Addiction Pamphlet
- Worcester MA CARD Program SLAA.Sex Addiction Assessment
- Worcester MA CARD Program Handout Local STD Clinics
- Worcester MA CARD Program Health Quiz
John School Class Evaluations, Surveys, Reflection Forms
Offender Processing Schematics
John School Reports and Program Evaluations
- Shively et al., Abt Associates: Evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program (Full Report)
- Shively et al., Abt Associates: Evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program (Summary)
- Evaluation of the Portland, Oregon John School Program: Monto, M.A., & Garcia, S. (2001). Recidivism among the customers of female street prostitutes: Do intervention programs help? Western Criminology Review, 3(2).
- Summary of John School Programs, Report by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation: http://g.virbcdn.com/_f/files/2f/FileItem-149841-Johnsschoolreport.pdf
- Sawyer, S., Simon Rosser, B.R., & Schroeder, A. (1998). A brief psychoeducational program for men who patronize prostitutes. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 26 ¾:111-125.
- Van Brunschot, E. (2003). Community policing and ‘John Schools.’ Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 40(2):215–232.
- Wahab, S. (2006). Evaluating the usefulness of a prostitution diversion project. Qualitative Social Work, 5:67-92.
- Wortley, S., Fischer, B., & Webster, C. (2002). Vice lessons: A survey of prostitution offenders enrolled in the Toronto John School diversion program. Canadian Journal of Criminology. October:369-402.
- ECPAT-USA, Inc. (2006). Schools for Johns: Addressing the Demand for Commercial Sex. Bangkok,Thailand: End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes.
- Fresno Police Department. Undated. Project PAR: Prostitution Abatement / Rehabilitation. Fresno California. Available at: www.popcenter.org/Library/Goldstein/1999/99-20.PDF.
- Kennedy, A., Klein, C., Gorzalka, B.B., & Yuille, J.C. (2004). Attitude change following a diversion program for men who solicit sex. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. 40.5:41-60.
- Report by the American Prosecutors Research Institute: APRI Report – Unwelcome Guests. A summary of the Indianapolis “Red Zone” john school begins on page 11.
- Article by therapist operating a john school in Denver, 1999-2011: Holtby, M. (2012). Johns Schools and Why Men Pay For Sex
- Robin Valenzuela (2016) The Nashville John School: Affective Governance and the Reintegrative Shaming Approach. Human Organization: Fall, Vol. 75, No. 3, pp. 249-257.
News Reports on Early Education Programs for Sex Buyers
News Reports and Overviews: Contemporary John Schools
- Brooklyn, NY:
- Cedar Rapids, IA:
- Columbus, OH:
- https://www.nbc4i.com/news/columbus-officer-pleads-to-soliciting-prostitute-will-attend-john-school/ (2016)
- https://www.10tv.com/columbus-police-cracking-down-on-human-trafficking-pushing-for-stronger-penalties-on-solicitation (2021)
- https://shehasaname.org/demand-reduction (2021)
- Corpus Christi, TX:
- Dallas, TX:
- Dayton, OH:
- Eau Claire, WI:
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to Two Guilty Pleas”, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, July 13 2012.
- “District Attorney Aims to Reduce Prostitution Cases with ‘John School'”, NBC/WEAU-TV 13, August 2 2012.
- “‘John School’ Used to Help Prevent Prostitution in Eau Claire”, Wisconsin Public Radio, August 16 2012.
- “Eau Claire County Hopes ‘John School’ Will Curb Prostitution”, FOX/WLUK-TV 11, August 17 2012.
- “‘John School’ Aims to Help Cut Down on Prostitution”, WTAQ-AM 1360, August 17 2012.
- “Regional Briefs: Eau Claire County Class Aims to Dissuade ‘Johns'”, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, August 17 2012.
- “Man Gets Deferred Deal in Prostitution Case”, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, March 21 2013.
- https://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/news/local/fahl-pleads-guilty-to-soliciting-prostitution (2018)
- http://www.leadertelegram.com/News/Local-Briefs/03/30/ (2018)
- https://www.channel3000.com/eau-claire-county-hopes-john-school-will-deter-solicitation/ (2019)
- Fort Collins, CO:
- http://www.reporterherald.com/ci_31651276/fort-collins-police-fight-human-trafficking-enforcement-education (2018)
- https://northfortynews.com/94350-2/ (2018)
- https://www.coloradoan.com/fort-collins-police-conduct-prostitution-sting-attracting-hundreds-effort-reduce-trafficking (2018)
- https://www.fcgov.com/news/index.php?id=7061 (2018)
- https://www.restorationcounselingnoco.com/fori/ (2018)
- https://www.coloradoan.com/fort-collins-police-lcso-make-contact-more-than-400-prostitution-sting (2018)
- Kansas City, MO:
- Las Vegas, NV:
- Los Angeles, CA:
- Nashville, TN:
- Naples, FL:
- New York, NY
- Newport News, VA:
- Palm Beach County, FL
- Portland and Multnomah County, OR:
- Rochester & Ohlmsted County, MN:
- Seattle, WA:
- St. Paul, MN:
- San Antonio, TX:
- San Diego, CA:
- San Francisco, CA:
- Shreveport/Bossier City, LA:
- Tacoma, Fife, Pierce County, Lakewood, WA:
- Toledo, OH:
- Waco, TX:
News Reports on John Schools
- “Corpus Christi police arrest six johns during prostitution sting operation.” Caller Times, March 30, 2018.
- “Curing ‘Johns’: Ten-week course aims to change sex buyers’ lives.” King 5 News, January 22, 2018.
- “Six Charged in Human Trafficking-Related Sting”, Superior Telegram, August 26 2014.
- “Convicted of Prostitution, Three Ordered to Attend ‘John School’ after Sting”, Superior Telegram, May 27 2014.
- “Henrico ‘John School’ gives prostitution first offenders a second chance.” Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 23, 2014.
- “John school lesson: Prostitution has victims.” The Columbus Dispatch, January 13, 2013
- PBS, May 30,2008: “John Schools:” Can men who hire prostitutes be reformed?” http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/422/prostitution.html
- KPCC, Southern California Public Radio: “Reducing demand for prostitution through john schools: Educating and preventing repeat customers.” http://www.scpr.org/news/2012/07/10/33182/reducing-demand-prostitution-through-johns-school/