Living Under A Bridge
Or, how to really screw something up. Because of new laws prohibiting them being within 2,500 feet of children several of Miami’s registered sex offenders are now living under a bridge that is part of the Julia Tuttle Causeway. I know it sounds crazy to be defending registered sex offenders, but I can definitely see some serious problems with the Law of Unintended Consequences here.
“I got nowhere I can go!” says sex offender Rene Matamoros, who lives with his dog on the shore where Biscayne Bay meets the causeway.
The Florida Department of Corrections says there are fewer and fewer places in Miami-Dade County where sex offenders can live because the county has some of the strongest restrictions against this kind of criminal in the country.
Florida’s solution: house the convicted felons under a bridge that forms one part of the causeway.
Nearly every day a state probation officer makes a predawn visit to the causeway. Those visits are part of the terms of the offenders’ probation which mandates that they occupy a residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
But what if a sex offender can’t find a place to live?
That is increasingly the case, say state officials, after several Florida cities enacted laws that prohibit convicted sexual offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks and other places where children might gather.
[…]With the roar of cars passing overhead, convicted sex offender Kevin Morales sleeps in a chair to keep the rats off him.
“The rodents come up next to you, you could be sleeping the whole night and they could be nibbling on you,” he said.
Morales has been homeless and living under the causeway for about three weeks. He works, has a car and had a rented apartment but was forced to move after the Department of Corrections said a swimming pool in his building put him too close to children.
The convicted felons may not be locked up anymore, but they say it’s not much of an improvement.
There is no doubt that these men should be carefully monitored given the rate of re-offending for sex offenders. Still, this kind of policy could very well lead to an even worse situation: these men violating the term of their probation and simply disappearing into the general population. Then known sex offenders would not be monitored at all, parents and people working with children wouldn’t know if a sex offender was living/working/etc. in the vacinity of their children. And lets see…
A Miami Herald investigation two years ago found that 1,800 sex offenders in Florida were unaccounted for after violating probation.
Wow what a shock! Go live under the bridge where you have to worry about rats eating you or violate your probation and simply disappear and take your chances trying to avoid the authorities…and also make it easier to re-offend. As a parent I understand the desire to protect our children, but with laws like this, the question has to be asked, are we really protecting them or putting them at greater risk?