John School

“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:

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.

Seattle, WA

Organization for Prostitution Survivors

Kansas City, KS & Kansas City, MO

Veronica’s Voice

Modeling Equality & Veronica’s Voice (program adapted from SSE Program, Seattle, WA)

Los Angeles, CA

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

John School Descriptions: Curricula, Agendas, Outlines

John School Class Handouts

John School Class Evaluations, Surveys, Reflection Forms

Offender Processing Schematics

John School Reports and Program Evaluations

News Reports on Early Education Programs for Sex Buyers

News Reports and Overviews: Contemporary John Schools

News Reports on John Schools