June 20, 2011

Assembly Legislation Increases Penalties
For Prostitution Near Schools

In an effort to keep illegal activities away from our children, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo announced today the passage of legislation that establishes new criminal sanctions for prostitution, and the promotion of prostitution, near schools.

The measure (A.2264B/Crespo) would make prostitution in a school zone a class A misdemeanor, which carries a one year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Currently a prostitution conviction carries a three month jail sentence and $500 fine.

"This legislation will help protect our children from being exposed to prostitution on their way to and from school and help ensure a learning environment free of these illegal activities," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "Our children deserve a paramount education, without the distraction of criminal acts within sight of the school grounds."

"We already have elevated penalties for those who choose to use or sell drugs near our children, it is time that we send that message to those engaging in prostitution as well," said Crespo (D-Bronx). "This legislation will send a message to those engaging in prostitution that school zones and the surrounding areas are off limits for their activities."

"This bill seeks to protect children from the bold disregard of individuals who break New York Law in front of our most vulnerable citizens - our children," said Lentol (D-Brooklyn). "With the passage of this legislation the police and the prosecutors will have no excuse for not arresting and prosecuting people who engage in prostitution near our schools."

A January 2011 New York Times article described the scene around a Bronx elementary school, where students could watch prostitutes solicit clients just off the Cross Bronx Expressway. From the school's playground, students could also view a tent where many illegal activities allegedly took place.