A little look at some numbers in San Francisco

I haven’t seen any figures about the actual cost of the First Offender’s Prostitution Program, but from the Examiner Article I think we can infer that the expense is approximately:

100 (Street sting operations)
+ 4 (Internet based operations)
=104 x 6.6 (# of arrests per operation)
= 686.4 (participants annually)

686 x $1,908 (actual cost per participant)
=1,309,651.20 Total annual cost of program (approx)

According to the SF State website, a semester of tuition is $4,740. So to earn a degree at SF State (8 semesters, full time) it costs about $37,920

So for what the City of San Francisco spends in a single year on the FOPP, which has had no benefits to the City whatsoever, we could put 34 people through four years of full-time college, they could earn a degree and get stable work, stable housing and actually pay into the City’s tax system rather than live off of it.

When people go to jail they get sick, or their existing illnesses are exacerbated. They’re more likely to have unstable housing and employment. These problems put a strain on the City’s budget while residents are not getting relief from problems wrongly associated with prostitution such as theft and drug dealing. It’s clear that projects such as the FOPP are cash cows for the District Attoney’s Office and Police Departments while the tax payers get no return on their investment.

The sad thing is that SAGE actually provides some important resources and programs for people who are specifically in need of the services offered. Their resources are getting sucked up by this program because the PD and DA want to ensure that they get their cut of the money paid in by tax payers. Eliminating the criminal enforcement of prostitution laws and focusing on this as a social issue with community-based solutions will produce better results, even if it won’t satisfy the moralists who seem more interested in making sure that prostitutes are punished for their sins than in actually decreasing violence and corruption within this system.

Let’s hope this audit will open the eyes of San Francisco voters.

One Response

  1. Excellent sleuthing, Stacey.

    I hope it will open their eyes!

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