Supreme Court ruling keeps 'johns' out of Saskatoon school

The person who runs Saskatoon's 'john school' is disappointed because he hasn't had any participants since the start of this year.

Albert Brown hasn't held a 'john school' this year

A john school session hasn't been held in Saskatoon for over a year.
The person who runs Saskatoon's "john school" is disappointed because he hasn't had any participants since the start of this year.

Albert Brown, who conducts the rehabilitation class for men arrested for soliciting a prostitute, said that since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws last year, his class has been empty. 

At this time last year, one session would have ended by now with a second one in the works, said Brown, the correctional services director for the Salvation Army in Saskatoon. There have been none so far.

Albert Brown runs Saskatoon's 'john school.' (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)
Const. Michelle Kinzel, a member of the Saskatoon Police Service's vice unit, said there has not been a significant change in the number of johns charged so far this year, compared with the same period last year. 

While police are no longer charging the prostitutes, they are still charging the johns. She said she doesn't know why people aren't registering in the john school. 

The program is for first-time offenders. Those who complete the program will not have a criminal record. 

Program helps johns

Brown said the program is important in educating johns about the effects that prostitution has on society.

Lives are at risk all the time.- Albert Brown, runs the john school

The course brings in a health nurse to talk about STIs. Ex-johns and ex-prostitutes talk about life before and after their involvement in the sex industry, and members of one family talk about how prostitution can ruin lives. 

"Through the day we've tried to help them see a different way to go." Brown said. 

He said that massage parlours or legalizing prostitution isn't the solution. He said that 95 per cent of the woman working on the streets have some form of communicable disease and wouldn't be allowed to work in a licensed establishment. 

"If they're safer for women then why are there panic buttons in all those rooms?" he said. "How safe are they? They may be checked out health wise — the guy's not checked out. Condoms don't cover every bit that transmits infectious diseases. Lives are at risk all the time."