ASSESSING TREATMENT ELIGIBILITY AND REARREST STATUS IN STREET SEX WORKERS CONTACTED THROUGH THE DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT S PROSTITUTE DIVERSION INITIATIVE

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2013-04-12

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Talari, Deepika

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Purpose: To assess eligibility for immediate diversion into treatment among prostitutes contacted through the PDI and evaluate recidivism based on their final disposition (jail, residential treatment, released with referral to outpatient treatment) from October 2007 through September 2012. Methods: Eligibility for immediate diversion is defined on the basis of charge classification. Prostitutes committing misdemeanor C offense were eligible for immediate diversion to treatment services. Persons committing prostitution offenses with higher charges (MA, MB, and SJF) were ineligible for immediate diversion, but provided another opportunity to participate in treatment at pre-trial release. Eligibility was determined from the DPD's booking form. Data for follow-up of women diverted to residential treatment was provided by the Nexus Recovery Center. The number of days in jail for PDI participants placed in custody was provided by the Dallas County Pre-Trial Release Division. Results: Eight hundred and sixty sex workers were contacted by the PDI at the end of five years. The majority of sex workers contacted were by arrest (n=807). Fifty-three voluntarily walked onto the street staging site for services. Four hundred and seventy-four contacts were eligible for immediate diversion to treatment. Of those eligible for treatment, 59% opted to enter treatment. Three hundred and eighty-nine participants ineligible for immediate diversion were transported to jail. Of the 177 contacts entering in-patient treatment services, 61 successfully completed the initial treatment program. More than half of the treatment completers were not subsequently rearrested when compared to the contacts that went to jail (35%). Conclusions: Ineligibility for immediate diversion because of higher arrest charge may be a potential barrier to women who want to enter treatment but are not able to do so. Sex workers that went to jail had higher proportion of rearrests compared to those that chose treatment services suggesting that immediate diversion for ineligibles sent to jail may be a worthwhile legislative effort. Further analysis is required to identify key factors which influence recidivism among street sex workers.

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