The First Offender Prostitution Program (FOPP) seeks to reduce the demand for prostitution by educating men about the risks of soliciting commercial sex. Abt Associates will evaluate this prosecution diversion program by comparing recidivism for men who were arrested for solicitation in San Francisco and who participated in FOPP with two nonequivalent comparison groups: men arrested for solicitation in San Francisco but who did not participate in the program and men arrested for solicitation in comparison cities. The two primary goals of this study are to: (1) compare the recidivism rates for program participants and non-participant comparisons; and (2) estimate the costs savings from diversion.
The primary data source will be criminal records for all men (FOPP participants and nonparticipants) arrested for solicitation in San Francisco over the history of the program, obtained through the California Criminal Justice Statistics Center. Abt will also collect similar data for males arrested for solicitation in 2'4 comparison cities (the selection of which will be finalized at the beginning of the project).
For the multivariate recidivism analysis Abt will utilize as statistical controls other information available from the criminal records, including criminal justice involvement prior to the arrest that led to FOPP participation and demographic information. The research team will analyze the recidivism data using probit models and survival models. To limit the effect of omitted variables, Abt will consider only California cities as potential comparison sites, and only those cities with stable enforcement environments.
To investigate which program elements are most likely responsible for any program effect, Abt will conduct qualitative research of the FOPP. This participant-observation research will be supplemented by analysis of the various survey instruments used by the Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE, the sponsor of FOPP) over its ten-year history. Finally, Abt will produce estimates of the costs associated with the diversion program and the associated savings to the criminal justice system in San Francisco.