Tuesday, September 13, 2011, at the regular City Council meeting, noticeably missing was Compton City Attorney Craig J. Cornwell. The meeting commenced as scheduled without him. As the meeting progressed, a number of issues regarding daily affairs were brought forth before the City Council, then unexpectedly, an hour into the meeting, Mr. Cornwell made his appearance.
Mr. Cornwell apologized for his tardiness with an explanation that surprised most in the audience. He related to those present that he had been delayed by court action. He had spent all day filing dozens of Loitering for Prostitution cases on behalf of the City of Compton. His efforts were a result of dozens of arrests during a Prostitution Abatement operation that had taken place on the previous Friday.
Mr. Cornwell happily reported that many of the prostitutes received maximum sentences of six months of incarceration. Most received sentences ranging from 90 days to five months in jail. "It was not a pleasant experience", "and most of the defendants were surprised when they were detained. They usually make bail immediately or receive two or three days for time served, then they are right back out on the streets doing it again," Cornwell said.
This is a milestone in the City of Compton. For the first time since the Sheriff's Department began policing services in the City of Compton had such sentences been handed down to curtail prostitution in the city. In the past, many arrests resulted in citations and field releases or incarcerations that would only keep them in custody long enough to verify their identities then released. Often, the deputies who had arrested them had not even completed their arrest reports before the prostitutes were released and back on the streets.
However, undeterred by what must have seemed like insufficient punishment, the Special Assignment Team and the Community Relations Team continued to target prostitution, arresting dozens of prostitutes weekly. On Friday, September 9, 2011, the Special Assignment Team joined forces with the Department of Children and Family Services Multi Agency Response Team (MART Unit) and conducted a Prostitution Sting which resulted in 27 arrests filed by City Attorney Cornwell for violation of Penal Code 653.22(a), "Loitering With Intent to Commit Prostitution".
This new development resulted from a culmination of hundreds of hours dedicated to the prostitution problem along Long Beach Boulevard, as well as marches conducted by several local churches, several civic leaders, and a letter writing campaign to state and local legislators.
Proponents of strict prostitution enforcement have cited that the Sheriff's Department should also target the "Johns" as well and make the arrests public, thus, sending a message to anybody desiring to engage in such illicit activity that they are not welcomed. Plans for such enforcement have not been made public yet.
Evidence of Prostitution