Making Prostitution Legal in California for Means of Reducing Crime and Increasing State Revenue Thesis

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Legalizing Prostitution in California

This research attempts to examine three hypotheses related to the decriminalization or legalization of prostitution in the state of California: it is wasteful to attempt to fight prostitution as a crime; legalization would reduce the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, violence, and drug use; and the overall outcome of legalizing prostitution would be positive for all citizens as a result of increased funding available for state programs. These hypotheses will be examined by thoroughly studying past and current literature on the pros and cons of different legal attitudes toward prostitution in different areas, as well as the economic crisis in California specifically.

Table of Contents

Senior Research Project Approval Form

Abstract

Table of Contents

Introduction

Background of the Study

Problem Statement

Purpose and Objectives

Rationale of the Study

Limitations of the Study

Research Hypothesis

Summary of Remaining Chapters

Chapter II: Literature Review

Chapter III: Methodology

Chapter IV: Results

Chapter V: Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations

References

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Chapter I: Introduction

Background of the Study

Thesis on Making Prostitution Legal in California for Means of Reducing Crime and Increasing State Revenue Assignment

California's economy is suffering; prostitutes there -- as everywhere -- are suffering. Legalizing, regulating, and taxing prostitution in the state of California could help resolve both problems. Money poured into fighting the "victimless" crime of prostitution could be redirected toward eliminating California's state debt, and the regulation and taxation of a legalized prostitution market could significantly contribute to state revenue. Other nations and states have proven by example that legalizing prostitution is a way to reduce crime and its related expenses, improve health and welfare conditions for prostitutes, and increase government income. This research aims to prove that these factors contribute to an overall more progressive society and far outweigh any negative results; therefore, prostitution in the state of California should be legalized.

The United States has failed to adjust its views on prostitution to match policies on other "risky" activities and substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. This is due to misconceptions about prostitution and its effect on women and society in general. A wealth of information is available on this topic, and opposing viewpoints will be considered and rebutted in order to effectively support the argument that from a criminal justice viewpoint, prostitution should be legalized in California.

This research will provide an overview of background information on California's economy, as well as a history of the attempts and outcomes of legalizing prostitution in other states and nations. Other background information will be provided on the expense and futility of attempting to significantly reduce or ban prostitution from society, as well as possible economic and health benefits resulting from the legalization and government control of the sex trade.

Problem Statement

Governments in states such as California are in serious trouble. Overloaded with debt, California seems to have no way out except through drastic cutbacks in critical programs and services. At the same time, millions of dollars in government money are spent yearly on fighting "victimless" crimes such as prostitution and marijuana use. This project aims to explore the nature of prostitution and whether or not it should be considered a criminal offense. If prostitution were decriminalized in California, millions of dollars of desperately needed funds could be funneled into paying off state debts, rather than going toward futile attempts at wiping out "the world's oldest profession."

Other nations and states have proven by example that legalizing prostitution is a way to reduce crime and its related expenses, improve health and welfare conditions for prostitutes, and increase government income. This research aims to prove that these factors contribute to an overall more progressive society and far outweigh any negative results; therefore, prostitution in the state of California should be legalized.

Moreover, the United States has failed to adjust its views on prostitution to match policies on other "risky" activities and substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. This is due to misconceptions about prostitution and its effect on women and society in general.

Purpose and Objectives

This study will thoroughly examine past and current literature on the nature of prostitution and its effects on women, families, and society. Many countries have already legalized prostitution, and even in the United States it is licensed and regulated in Nevada. What effect has this decriminalization or legalization had on the prostitutes themselves, on the men who solicit them, on their families, and on society as a whole? Since history has proven that prostitution will never be completely eliminated from human society, is it worth the time and money to fight its existence? And if not, doesn't it make sense to channel all of that money into paying off debts in order to save important government programs dedicated to feeding the poor and educating children?

This project will explore the proactive measures currently being debated regarding the legalization of prostitution.

Rationale of the Study

The purpose of this research is simple: funds in California need to be reallocated in order to protect critical government programs; other states and countries have successfully decriminalized or legalized prostitution in order to save money. California needs to seriously consider taking action to follow suit as a means of saving the economy. Furthermore, it appears the benefits of legalizing prostitution extend beyond merely saving government time, money, and resources.

In summary, something must be done to save California's economy before severe budget cuts harm the general welfare of society. Contrary to popular belief, legalizing prostitution would not contribute to a downgrading of this society; rather, regulation and taxation could have significant positive effects for everyone involved.

Limitations

This research will be limited by an inability to conduct firsthand-interviews with prostitutes, politicians, and law enforcement officials in California. Information to support the thesis will instead be culled from the myriad of existing references available on the subject of legalizing prostitution.

Research Hypotheses

This project will test the following hypotheses:

1. Fighting prostitution as a crime is a waste of taxpayers' money, as well as government time and resources. This money could be better used to pay off debts and continue government service programs for the public good.

2. Decriminalizing prostitution will decrease violence, drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases associated with the "underground" world of criminal prostitution.

3. Decriminalizing prostitution will have a general positive, rather than negative, effect on Californian society.

Summary of Remaining Chapters

Chapter II will provide an overview of past and current literature on California's economy, pros and cons of legalization vs. prohibition of prostitution, and results of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution in other states and countries.

Chapter III explains findings from this literature and previous research with regard to the overriding main hypothesis: prostitution should be legalized in California. These findings are then analyzed in Chapter III as a preface to the conclusions drawn in Chapter IV regarding the stated hypothesis.

Chapter II: Literature Review

California's Economic Demise

Recent news is filled with dire predictions for California's economy. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has thrown up his hands and declared his state akin to the failed economies of Greece and Ireland (Lubin, 2010). Only with "terrible" (Lubin, 2010) budget cuts can the state of California hope to recover; even that may not be enough. There are many reasons for California's economic emergency. Despite harsh cutbacks, the budget deficit still exceeds $20 billion; Schwarzenegger has already been forced to consider terminating several critical supportive government programs such as food assistance for the poor and housing placement for foster children; more than 20,000 teachers may face lay-offs; California has an additional $200 billion in outstanding loans to be paid over the next few decades; their S&P debt rating is the worst in the nation; their emergency care ratio is unacceptable, with only 7 emergency rooms per one million people; California has been building a $100 million prison every year for 23 years; per pupil spending in schools dropped from #1 in the nation down to #48; the state spends nearly $900 billion per year on imprisoned illegal immigrants; California spends roughly $500 million per year on wildfire damage and damage control; chronic drought problems drain the economy; 7 of the most unemployed cities in the nation are in California; home foreclosures are out of control; and the average home value in Merced, CA dropped over 60% in just four years (Lubin, 2010)

As a result, legislators are considering regulating and taxing "victimless" crimes such as prostitution or marijuana use. These businesses are enormous money-makers and no one would argue that they can be effectively banned from society; therefore, the government needs to step in and impose regulations and taxes in order to promote safe practices and support the ailing economy.

Fighting prostitution: Worthwhile or Futile?

According to Rio (1991), the prohibition of prostitution in no way contributes to an overall reduction in its incidence and prevalence. Moreover, the goals of "punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation" inherent in the laws are not "furthered by the current prohibition of prostitution." Rio also cites evidence from several studies in support of a legalized sex trade, including reductions in other crimes such as rape, as well as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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