Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Never Forget: The NYPD Arrests People Caught Carrying Condoms: Gothamist

I get that this is likely aimed at "street walkers", and I'm sympathetic to the complaints of neighborhood residents where that kind of activity takes place. 

But treating condom possession as evidence of a crime is just bad policy.  Stick with it Senator Montgomery, one day this too shall pass. 
The Village Voice and Vice both have feature stories this week all about how you can be arrested for carrying condoms, because they can be used by the police as evidence of prostitution. Which is, unfortunately, nothing new: it's a much criticized tactic that the NYPD have been using for years. The Voice does bring up an interesting question though: if a person is in possession of a condom distributed by NYC and they are then arrested with that condom used as major evidence, does it count as "entrapment"?
While it seems unlikely that this argument could fly (the Voice really just tiptoes around the idea), the Department of Health could try to put increased pressure on the city, considering it's making their program look bad. There is one major potential solution to this issue: the "No Condoms As Evidence Bill" was reintroduced in mid-January by Queens Democratic assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark and Brooklyn Democratic state senator Velmanette Montgomery, who first introduced the legislation in 1999.
As a more general matter our laws criminalizing sex workers are largely wrongheaded.  Regulation would be far better than criminalization.  Address the quality of life issues. Address public health concerns.  And certainly address abuse, force and coercion.  But we're talking about the world's oldest profession here.  We're never going to win a "war on prostitution". 

So lets focus on reducing harm. And maybe treat a largely marginalized population a little more humanely. 

No comments: