The International Academy of Trial Lawyers hosted the first-ever John School Conference on May 27, 2015. Eighteen programs signed up to attend - almost half of the nation’s John Schools! Other attendees included city attorneys, law enforcement officers, and other parties who have an interest in John School programs.
The conference started with IATL Vice President Noël Ferris outlining goals for the day and facilitating introductions. Following, there were presentations by three very different John School programs: a John School video shown right after arrest while the offender is sitting in the squad car in handcuffs; an intense one-day program; and a comprehensive program with multiple sessions over ten weeks. We then learned tips for partnering with law enforcement and city officials on efforts to reduce demand. During lunch, a renowned prostitution researcher presented new data about characteristics of sex buyers. In the afternoon, we learned about Demand Abolition’s CEASE Network - an effort by multiple cities to reduce demand by 20% in two years. We later brainstormed ways to build relationships with prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, and community leaders to garner support for john school programs. Executive Director Linda Scher gave the final presentation about possible priorities for the John School Task Force. The conference ended with a reception for the attendees.
We received very positive feedback about the conference. Many attendees stated they learned information that would directly help them improve their programs, and they were excited to network with each other! Overall, the conference was a great success!