Tag Archives: Criminal Justice

Here are the Reasons Why I Think Prostitution Should Be Legalized


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Darius Soodmand

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Darius Soodmand

 

Whether “Your Choice, Your Vote 2016” results in a Republican or Democrat president, one piece of new legislation that I would like to see on his or her agenda is the legalization of prostitution.

To all those in my “conservative” circle of friends, family and acquaintances, please don’t beat a path to my door to tar and feather me. I’m addressing legalities, NOT moralities. I have valid reasons for wanting to see prostitution legalized. Prostitution has been called a “victimless” crime. Many people disagree. I’m not one of those people.

You may ask:

  • What about the families of the men (and women, because prostitution isn’t solely a female occupation) who avail themselves of this service?
  • And what about the customers/clients who come away with a sexually transmitted disease of some kind? Aren’t they victims of prostitution?

I submit to you that they are not. There are no “victims” of the act of prostitution itself. The “victimization” occurs when a client assaults the professional – rape, battery, etc., robs them of their fee, drugs them, frames them for murder (clearly I’ve been reading too many crime thrillers and watching too many police procedural shows on TV), or numerous other crimes, including sex trafficking and child prostitution. These crimes may likewise be perpetrated upon the client by the prostitute. Those are the ONLY  instances in which a simple transaction becomes a crime…just like any other simple transaction involving two or more individuals.

While adultery (and yes, having sex with someone other than your spouse is adultery, just in case you were wondering) is (morally) grounds for divorce, it is NOT a crime in the USA. Therefore, when one’s spouse has sex with a prostitute in the USA, it should not be a crime. Ergo, there is NO VICTIM – victimLESS “crime.” And if prostitution were legal, the word “crime” wouldn’t even appear in this paragraph.

If a customer/client’s sexual interaction results in a STD, that MIGHT be a crime, if the service provider knew they carried a potentially life-threatening or health-threatening disease and didn’t take steps to either inform their client, and/or use protection (usually termed “negligence”). The client and sex worker should use protection in any case, because probably neither one practices monogamy. There’s a reason it’s called “safe sex.”

Prostitution should be legalized and called something less derogatory, such as “Sex Worker” or “Licensed Companions” (a moniker borrowed from J.D. Robb IN DEATH mysteries).

Here’s my reasoning:

  • Prostitution is one of the oldest occupations known to man. It’s been around at least since the days of Lot (read your Bible, book of Genesis) and will be around until the Second Coming.
  • Prostitution is, at its core, a simple transaction – a trade of money for a service. As long as all parties are of legal age and ability to consent, according to the laws of the land in which it occurs, since when is a simple transaction a crime?
  • Here’s the important one: the government could tax and regulate the occupation of prostitution.
  • If prostitution was legalized and regulated, then it would be an insurable and licensed occupation; yearly health exams for sex workers.
  • If prostitution ceased to be a crime, then law enforcement would be able to stop wasting time trying to clear the streets of sex workers or setting up sting operations to catch clients.
  • People (and the media) wouldn’t care so much about who/where/when government officials and employees sleep with on their own time.
  • Clients could be assured of legal protection from unlicensed sex workers or those who haven’t kept up with their yearly medical exams.
  • Sex workers would have greater legal protection from unsavory clients.
  • Prostitution is legal in Nevada. (Why are they so much more progressive than the rest of the USA?)

prostiution2Another good reason for prostitution to be legalized: pornography (such as adult films) is legal in the USA, for the most part (with some qualifications, like no images/videos of minors, no sales to minors, etc.). And I can guarantee that adult film stars are better treated than prostitutes. Why is that? There’s really no difference in their occupations. Adult film stars have sex on camera for money. Prostitutes have sex …where ever… for money. How are these two things different?

We have a political policy of separation of church and state in the US. Yet, laws against prostitution are “morality” laws, which is a close cousin to “religion.” That’s a mighty fine line. So much so that it’s almost an invisible line. There are so many other things to worry about in our world – feeding and housing the homeless, ending child abuse, ending domestic abuse, ending rape and murder…why do we care if consenting adults want to charge and pay for sex with other consenting adults?

I was interested to see what others have to say about this topic, and found a lot of opinion pieces. Because this is a blog post and not a book, I’ll leave you with just a few of those pieces, just in case you’re interested.

What do you think? Should prostitution be legal nationwide in the USA? Or should we keep the “morality” law in place and continue to waste valuable law enforcement resources – and fire Secret Service members who solicit – enforcing morality instead of focusing on safety and chasing the real bad dudes and dudettes?

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Filed under Law, Legal, Life, Morality, Musings, Politics, Real Life, Sex, Writing

Guest Post: Who Cares if the Wrong Person Went to Prison? by @bobmueller


Photo Source: Pixabay.com

Photo Source: Pixabay.com

Someone else was released from prison last week after serving time for a crime they didn’t commit. This one served 19 years. The one last month served 23. Or was it 20? And the average time behind bars is 14 years. The stories come so often these days that we’re in danger of becoming numb to them, because they all sound the same. A black man (and statistically it’s more likely to be a black male), wrongfully convicted of a violent crime, released due to DNA evidence that negated an eyewitness identification, or a false confession, or faulty evidence.

The National Registry of Exonerations, a statistics project of the University of Michigan Law School, reports 1,777 exonerations nationwide as of April 27, 2016. Black men make up just over 46% of those exonerations. 116 of them were on death row. That means the State came close to killing the wrong man.

But so what? Why do I care?

Why should you care?

Because the State could kill the wrong person.

And if the wrong person is in prison, then the “right” person is still out there committing crimes.

Wrongful convictions in general are a bad thing, but at least they can release the wrong person, throw some money at them (in some states), and let them at least try to move on with their life.

But it’s hard to do that for a dead person.

Far too many states don’t do anything for a wrongfully convicted person when they get released from prison. Some of these people have been imprisoned for more than half of their lives. Many have no clue what the internet is or does. They may have never held a cellphone. They don’t get any chance to catch up on modern life. One former inmate in North Carolina received 10 minutes’ warning that he was being released.

In 24 states, they won’t get any compensation for the loss of their lives. They get nothing to try and pay them back for the missed birthdays, graduations, weddings, and funerals. Others require them to file a court claim to recover any money. That’s hard to do when you’re broke. Oklahoma caps its compensation at $175,000 no matter how long someone was incarcerated. Louisiana, home to one of the most overworked and poorly supported public defender systems in the country, caps its compensation at $150,000. Alabama requires the state legislature to authorize the compensation, but they at least provide a reasonable amount of minimum $50,000 per year.

Adding insult to injury, up until December 2015, that compensation that you had to fight for was taxed federally. Thanks, Obama.

What all this means is that the State first spent a bunch of money to put someone in prison. But then the State has to give that person a bunch of money because oops, we goofed. Sorry about that.

You know where that money comes from though. It’s not “The State.”

It’s you.

That compensation – if it’s paid – comes from you, and me, and everyone else who pays their taxes, expecting the State to get it right when they send someone to prison. Imagine what the city of Tulsa could have done with the $8 million they recently paid out on a wrongful conviction case.

In the meantime, while you’ve been stuck in prison, trying not to get beaten, raped, shaken down by the guards or the gangs, or just struggling to survive, the real bad guy has been out there, still committing crimes.

The Innocence Project points out that in the 337 exonerations they’ve accomplished, the real perpetrator has been found in 140 cases, or just over 41% of the cases. Their research indicates at least 130 violent crimes could have been prevented had the actual offender been properly identified the first time. I think it would be interesting for one of those victims to sue the agency that convicted the wrong person, thus allowing them to be victimized. Maybe I should talk to John Grisham about that one.

130 violent crimes. Robberies. Rapes. Murders. All preventable.

130 other victims.

130 other people.

And that’s just based on the 337 exonerations achieved by the Innocence Project. Imagine how many could have been prevented if the 1,777 national exonerations had all gotten it right the first time.

So why should you care if the State puts the wrong person in prison?

Because the real bad guy could still be out there, hurting people.

Maybe someone you love.

Maybe you.

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RBM Full Headshot 480x600Bob Mueller is a teller of stories. They sound like thrillers in his head. He puts himself in someone else’s shoes, teases out their feelings, blends that with bits and pieces of history and life experience, and crafts a story that might have been inspired by a song or a news story. But it’s about emotions in the end. Published under Booktrope’s Gravity Imprint, Bob is a member of International Thriller Writers, Tulsa NightWriters and Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, a father of eight, and a pastor’s husband. His novel The Sad Girl is available now from Amazon. You can also find him at http://www.bobmuellerwriter.com, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

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Filed under Gravity Imprint, Guest Post, Life, Politics, Writing