BILL ANALYSIS SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY Senator Mark Leno, Chair S 2009-2010 Regular Session B 1 2 7 SB 1279 (Pavley) 9 As Introduced February 19, 2010 Hearing date: April 13, 2010 Welfare and Institutions Code AA:mc SEXUALLY EXPLOITED MINORS PILOT PROJECT - LOS ANGELES COUNTY HISTORY Source: Children's Advocacy Institute, Inc. Prior Legislation: AB 499 (Swanson) - Ch. 359, Statutes of 2008 Support: California Teachers Association; American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX (California); California Communities United Institute; Los Angeles District Attorney's Office; Crittenton Services for Children and Families; California District Attorneys Association Opposition:None known KEY ISSUE SHOULD A DISCRETIONARY PILOT PROJECT BE EXPRESSLY, STATUTORILY AUTHORIZED IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY to encourage the development of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model reflecting the best practices for the response of law enforcement and the criminal and juvenile justice systems to identify, assess and address the needs of (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageB commercially sexually exploited children who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement FOR PROSTITUTION CRIMES, AS SPECIFIED? PURPOSE The purpose of this bill is to statutorily authorize a discretionary pilot project in Los Angeles County to encourage the development of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model reflecting the best practices for the response of law enforcement and the criminal and juvenile justice systems to identify, assess and address the needs of commercially sexually exploited children who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement for prostitution crimes, as specified. Existing law expressly authorizes Alameda County, contingent upon local funding, to "establish a pilot project . . . to develop a comprehensive, replicative, multidisciplinary model to address the needs and effective treatment of commercially sexually exploited minors who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement for" prostitution crimes, as specified. These provisions sunset January 1, 2010. This bill would authorize an identical pilot project for the County of Los Angeles, without a sunset. RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION IMPLICATIONS The severe prison overcrowding problem California has experienced for the last several years has not been solved. In December of 2006 plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sought a court-ordered limit on the prison population pursuant to the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act. On January 12, 2010, a federal three-judge panel issued an order requiring the state to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity -- a reduction of roughly 40,000 inmates -- within two years. (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageC In a prior, related 184-page Opinion and Order dated August 4, 2009, that court stated in part: "California's correctional system is in a tailspin," the state's independent oversight agency has reported. . . . (Jan. 2007 Little Hoover Commission Report, "Solving California's Corrections Crisis: Time Is Running Out"). Tough-on-crime politics have increased the population of California's prisons dramatically while making necessary reforms impossible. . . . As a result, the state's prisons have become places "of extreme peril to the safety of persons" they house, . . . (Governor Schwarzenegger's Oct. 4, 2006 Prison Overcrowding State of Emergency Declaration), while contributing little to the safety of California's residents, . . . . California "spends more on corrections than most countries in the world," but the state "reaps fewer public safety benefits." . . . . Although California's existing prison system serves neither the public nor the inmates well, the state has for years been unable or unwilling to implement the reforms necessary to reverse its continuing deterioration. (Some citations omitted.) . . . The massive 750% increase in the California prison population since the mid-1970s is the result of political decisions made over three decades, including the shift to inflexible determinate sentencing and the passage of harsh mandatory minimum and three-strikes laws, as well as the state's counterproductive parole system. Unfortunately, as California's prison population has grown, California's political decision-makers have failed to provide the resources and facilities required to meet the additional need for space and for other necessities of prison existence. Likewise, although state-appointed experts have repeatedly provided numerous methods by which the state could safely reduce its prison population, their (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageD recommendations have been ignored, underfunded, or postponed indefinitely. The convergence of tough-on-crime policies and an unwillingness to expend the necessary funds to support the population growth has brought California's prisons to the breaking point. The state of emergency declared by Governor Schwarzenegger almost three years ago continues to this day, California's prisons remain severely overcrowded, and inmates in the California prison system continue to languish without constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care.<1> The court stayed implementation of its January 12, 2010, ruling pending the state's appeal of the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. That appeal, and the final outcome of this litigation, is not anticipated until later this year or 2011. This bill does not aggravate the prison overcrowding crisis described above. COMMENTS 1. Stated Need for This Bill The author states: Under current law, when an adult has consensual sexual relations with a minor, the adult is subject to criminal prosecution, and as a matter of law, the minor is deemed too young to consent to such relations. They are considered a victim under the law. This is not the case when money is exchanged for sexual activity however. In a case where an adult ---------------------- <1> Three Judge Court Opinion and Order, Coleman v. Schwarzenegger, Plata v. Schwarzenegger, in the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of California and the Northern District of California United States District Court composed of three judges pursuant to Section 2284, Title 28 United States Code (August 4, 2009). (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageE pays a minor in exchange for sexual activities, that minor is eligible for charges of prostitution . . . . This is a grave injustice in many cases where minors are forcibly coerced and manipulated, often by an adult, into selling their bodies for the benefit of their pimps. Untold numbers of children fall victim to predatory adults who sexually exploit them for commercial gain in this manner, and who very often abuse these minors in unspeakably brutal ways. Currently, exploited minors often go through the juvenile justice system with little opportunity for rehabilitation and healing that is specific to their needs. Following the collaborative diversion efforts which were spurred in Alameda County by AB 499 (Swanson) from 2008, and are currently set to be fully integrated in that county this summer, this bill seeks to address the specialized needs of commercially sexually exploited minors in a manner which focuses on rehabilitation rather than criminalization. This bill would authorize a similar pilot project specific to the needs and capacity of Los Angeles County, and contingent upon local funding. Additionally, in light of the fact that Federal Grants are made available through the Department of Justice and other Departments to local governments and entities for the purposes of combating human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of minors, it is the intent and hope of this legislation that Los Angeles County will be competitive for any such grants or other sources of funding in the future. In California it is a crime to recruit children, pimp children or pander children for the purpose of prostitution . . . . However, with the exception of (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageF the pilot program in Alameda County, California does not treat children involved in these acts of prostitution as victims. It is imperative that California change that approach, and using Alameda County's efforts as a very effective beginning, this bill seeks to expand and build upon that approach in Los Angeles County. It is imperative that as many exploited children as possible are given the chance to have a normal life in California, and this bill seeks to increase those chances. 2. What This Bill Would Do As explained above, in 2008 the Legislature passed AB 499 (Swanson) to authorize a pilot project in Alameda County intended "to encourage the development of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model reflecting the best practices for the response of law enforcement and the criminal and juvenile justice systems to identify and assess commercially sexually exploited children who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement." AB 499 and this bill share the following identical, discretionary features: Development of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model to address the needs and effective treatment of commercially sexually exploited minors who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement for solicitation<2> or loitering with the intent to commit prostitution.<3> Development of protocols for identifying and assessing minors, upon arrest or detention by law enforcement, who may be victims of commercial sexual exploitation. --------------------------- <2> Specifically, a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 647. <3> Specifically, a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 653.22. (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageG Development of a diversion program reflecting the best practices to address the needs and requirements of arrested or detained minors who have been determined to be victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Formation of a multidisciplinary team to (1) develop a training curriculum reflecting the best practices for identifying and assessing minors who may be victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and (2) offer and provide this training curriculum through multidisciplinary teams to law enforcement, child protective services, and others who are required to respond to arrested or detained minors who may be victims of commercial sexual exploitation. "Commercially sexually exploited minor" means a person under 18 years of age who has been detained for a violation of the law or placed in civil protective custody on a safety hold based only on a violation of prostitution or pimping crimes, as specified. 3. Sunset As contemplated and passed by the Legislature in 2008, AB 499 was a pilot project with a sunset of January 1, 2012. SB 1279 is likewise presented as a pilot project, but contains no sunset. Members may wish to consider whether a sunset should be added to this bill. SHOULD THIS BILL BE SUNSETTED, LIKE ITS PREDECESSOR AB 499? 4. Sexually Exploited Minors and the Criminal Justice System News articles over the last few years have highlighted the problem of child and teen prostitutes. For example, the Contra Costa Times in 2008 reported, "last year, of the 443 females arrested for prostitution in Oakland, 29 were juvenile cases. ? Meanwhile, police have only just started to quantify the problem and have been working to nail down firm numbers. ? Technology, (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageH the Internet, and cell phones have all changed the game. Pimps now use technology to sell girls as young as 11 or 12 on the street."<4> Similarly, an Oakland Tribune article from earlier this year described efforts to address child prostitutes as victims rather than criminal offenders: (More) --------------------------- <4> Dunlap, Kamika, Cops Treating Child Prostitutes as Victims, Contra Costa Times, April 23, 2008. The majority of youngsters involved in the sex trade have been abused or neglected. Almost all the youngsters on the streets have run away from a home situation they find untenable. "A lot of these young girls are foster care youth and kids not connected to any family system," said Brian Bob, outreach coordinator for Covenant House, a nonprofit homeless shelter for youth that drives a van around Oakland five nights a week to provide food and, if they'll accept it, shelter to homeless youngsters. The vast majority of homeless girls Covenant House finds are prostitutes, he said. . . . Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Sharmin Eshraghi Bock, who prosecutes human exploitation and trafficking cases, said many young girls who fall into prostitution have never known a loving family, so they mistake a pimp's affection and promises of material things for love. . . . Sexually Abused and Commercially Exploited Youth, an Oakland- based counseling program, last year surveyed 100 children ages 11 to 17 who had been peddled on the (More) SB 1279 (Pavley) PageJ streets and referred for counseling. They found that 75 percent of the children had been raped at some time in their lives, 48 percent had been physically or sexually abused, and 70 percent had been assaulted while working the streets. Most respondents were runaways: Eighty-eight percent said they had run away from their family home or a foster care home. . . . Nola Brantley, coordinator of the SACEY counseling program, said the child prostitution epidemic in Oakland can be partially blamed on an overtaxed police system. "There are cases of severe child abuse in Oakland that will go uninvestigated and not prosecuted because of lack of manpower," Brantley said. "Some of these same children who were abused and nobody intervened will go on to become sexually exploited minors."<5> *************** --------------------------- <5> Barbara Grady, Many Child Prostitutes Seeking Shelter, Oakland Tribune, April 22, 2008.