Where Is “Home, Sweet Home” For Registrants?

Have you read the recent article ” ACLU sues over rule on where sex offenders can live in Miami-Dade”?

It seems that registrants in Miami-Dade County are  under continuous barrage from county officials to “keep moving”. The county’s new and tougher registrant residency  restrictions don’t allow offenders on parole within 2,500 ft. of schools, bus stops or any other place children might congregate.

This is the epitomy of draconian thinking. We live in a world full of children.  Children congregate everywhere.

In 2010, dozens of homeless registrants used to live, if you can call it that, beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami-Dade.   It was the only place they could find that didn’t violate residency restrictions, of course that was until new ordinances and “No Trespassing” signs forced the homeless offenders from their meager ramshackle homes to other vacant lots and under other bridges.

In 2012 a new group of homeless registrants took up residency on a street corner in Shorecrest, a small residential/commercial area in Miami.  But just as fast as they had taken up residency, Miami Commissioner Marc Samoff designated an over-grown, garbage strune barren piece of property a few hundred feet away from the registrants area, Little River Pocket Park, which meant the registrants were in violation of the residency restrictions and had to move.

By 2013 a group of offenders that had been living in a trailor park in Allapattah were sent packing as the trailer park was too close to a school for troubled youth.  State department of corrections officials were the ones responsible for initially re-locating the offenders to the trailer park.  Later, they claimed to have no knowledge that the facility for troubled youth was considered a “school”. Nor did they offer an alternative site for the offenders to move to.

The homeless registrants were force to sleep in a Hialeah parking lot. Their neighborhood view from their non-exsistent home, their non-exsistent windows, was of train-tracks and warehouses. They  sleep without a roof over their heads and without benefit of either sanitation facilities or electricity.

But, this is only temporary quarters.  Sooner or later a park, a daycare or a bustop will be located within 2,500 feet of the registrants homesites and they will be pushed out once again.

I am so glad the ACLU has taken on this lawsuit.  I’d love to see the ACLU file this same lawsuit in every state in this country, the registrants basic rights to personal safety and to maintain a home, have been violated.

Whatever their crime, these registrants have already done their time.  They deserve the same rights as anyone else to be able to find decent living conditions and not to be forced into exhile like lepers, living under bridges and on street corners in deplorable conditions.

Registrants deserve the same safety and securtiy of a home that the rest of us have.  No longer will we put up with allowing them to be considered “less than”  or  “second-class citizens”.

Momentum for change is building,  “stand up and speak up” to help remove the barriers that deprive our loved ones of the basic human right to a “home, sweet home.”



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