John schools are education programs for men arrested for buying sex. The schools can be structured as a sentencing option and combined with other criminal sanctions, or as a diversion program, resulting in dismissed charges. John schools can be one-day classes or designed as multiple-session counseling programs. The programs are financed by the fees or fines that the arrested johns must pay (typically, about $400) for soliciting sex. The fees or fines usually cover all program costs, and often produce excess revenue used to fund survivor recovery programs. John schools are currently located in over 50 cities in the U.S., and serve over 100 cities and counties (john schools also operate in at least 35 locations in England and Canada, and another 35+ sites in South Korea), and widely available versions of john schools can be accessed as online courses or as a DVD presentation.
A typical curriculum includes these topics:
- Health consequences
- Impact on communities
- Impact on survivors (testimony from women who have been trafficked or prostituted)
- Victimization risks and impact on johns
- Legal consequences
Other topics presented in john schools include:
- Male development, decision making, and responsibility
- Developing and maintaining healthy relationships
- Anger management
- Sex trafficking
- Dynamics of pimping
- Sex addiction
- Impact on spouses and children
- Link between pornography, prostitution, and human trafficking
Variations on the one-time classroom model include:
- Multiple individual or group counseling sessions (e.g., Salt Lake City, UT)
- A video john school in which a DVD is presented to arrested johns while they await processing (Cook County, IL)
- Online versions of john schools (Logan Social Services, based in Murfreesboro, TN; Life Wisdom Foundation)
- A “roadside john school,” involved a condensed presentation given to men suspected of soliciting but who were not arrested (Tucson, AZ ; 1998-1999)
Overview of John School Programs in the U.S.
- John School Overview from National Assessment (PDF, 183 KB)
To find U.S. sites which have employed this tactic, visit our locations page.
To help start, improve or sustain a john school, access the resources provided below. Some materials are also available in Spanish.
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
- 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
- Louisiana John School Website (Shreveport)
- Minneapolis & St. Paul John School Curricula Outlines
- Newport News John School Program Overview and Curriculum Outline
- 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
- 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
- Evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program (Full Report)
- Evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program (Summary)
- Masters Thesis on Nashville John School: The Nashville John School: Risk Deterrence and the Reintegrative Shaming Approach. Valenzuela, R.M. (2013).
- 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). Available at: http://wcr.sonoma.edu/v3n2/monto.html
- 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
News Reports on Early Education Programs for Sex Buyers
News Reports on Contemporary John Schools
- Brooklyn, NY:
- Columbus, OH:
- Dayton, OH:
- Las Vegas, NV:
- Los Angeles, CA:
- Nashville, TN:
- Newport News, VA:
- Portland and Multnomah County, OR:
- Rochester & Ohlmsted County, MN:
- Seattle, WA:
- St. Paul, MN:
- San Diego, CA:
- San Francisco, CA:
- Shreveport/Bossier City, LA:
- Tacoma, Fife, Pierce County, Lakewood, WA:
- Toledo, OH:
- Waco, TX:
- Worcester, MA:
News Reports on John Schools
- 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/
- The Columbus Dispatch, January 13, 2013: “John school lesson: Prostitution has victims.” http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/12/17/john-school-lesson-prostitution-has-victims.html
- Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 23, 2014. “Henrico ‘John School’ gives prostitution first offenders a second chance.” http://www.timesdispatch.com/news
- “Convicted of Prostitution, Three Ordered to Attend ‘John School’ after Sting”, Superior Telegram, May 27 2014.
- “Six Charged in Human Trafficking-Related Sting”, Superior Telegram, August 26 2014.