Texas’ Collin, Denton counties opt out of prostitution diversion

Dec 1, 2014
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When it comes to dealing with prostitution, Dallas County’s northern neighbors have a diversion aversion.

Texas' Collin, Denton counties opt out of prostitution diversion

Dallas County’s prostitution diversion initiative — a joint effort by police, social service organizations and county prosecutors to get women arrested for prostitution out of the business in exchange for reduced or dropped charges — was meant to serve as a model for the state’s largest counties. But some officials, including those in Collin and Denton County, have passed on the state’s mandate, saying they don’t have a prostitution problem.

“It’s just not an issue in Denton County,” said Denton County Judge Mary Horn. “We have not and we will not be doing anything on this.”

The state law mandated that counties with more than 200,000 people start prostitution diversion programs. State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, authored the bill as Dallas officials cheered on its passage.

But months after Gov. Rick Perry signed Whitmire’s bill into law, some counties began opting out. Denton and Collin counties both asked for — and received — waivers from the state. Collin County Judge Keith Self said in a letter to the state that prostitution was not a big enough problem in his county to justify the cost of running the program.

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