Sex offenders in Florida do not have many residency options, as noted in this interesting article in the Miami Herald. The article discusses a peculiar colony of 52 male sex offenders that live in under a bridge and a woman named Voncel Johnson who recently joined their ranks. From the article:
For two years, a colony of convicted sex offenders under the Julia Tuttle Causeway has lived in a public health travesty, without water or toilets or electrical service. They sleep in tents, shacks, the back seats of cars in the last realistic address in metropolitan Miami unaffected by city and county sex-offender residency laws.
The numbers have been growing steadily as more convicted sex offenders emerge from prison and are consigned to finish out their wretched lives under a bridge.
In a peculiar nod to gender equity, the Florida Department of Corrections informed her last week that she too had only one residency option in Miami-Dade County -- the Tuttle. ''They just give me a blanket and a pillow and sent me . . . here?'' she asked, talking over the incessant thump-thump-thump of the freeway traffic overhead. ``I just broke down.''
I'm not sure if it is a good sign or bad sign that the bridge communities of Florida are re-forming and growing. It certainly isn't an ideal situation, but it might be better than being on the street. The problem of homeless sex offenders is not going to go away any time soon and residency restrictions will continue to make it worse.