Pangloss Posted April 13, 2007 Share Posted April 13, 2007 I can't remember if I posted this before, but the story's been updated so it's a good chance to refresh it and/or post it for the first time. (It's Friday the 13th, so I figure I'll cover both my bases to be sure!) This is just one honkin' bizarre story, and one of those crazy things that usually gets a "Florida" tag on FARK (probably did -- I haven't been by there in ages). Stories like this just seem to bake and simmer in the hot Florida sun, what can I say. Anyway, not too many months ago a new law was passed in Miami that increased the buffer distance (2500 ft) that convicted sex offenders have to maintain between their place of residence and any schools, parks, or other facilities where children are in attendance. It seemed like a good idea to most folks at the time, but the law of unintended consequences reared its ugly head. The distance was so great, and the number of "protected" sites so numerous, that all the sites overlapped each other, effectively locking up the entire county except for a few small "open" areas, most of which had no available housing to speak of. Most convicted sex offenders simply leave (which was probably the idea -- NIMBY at its ugliest). Those who choose to stay, for the most part, worked something out. But a very small number of men (I believe there are three of them currently) who had limited or no resources got caught in a rather bizarre loophole when they got out on parole. You see, there is actually a facility for paroled felons to go to. A halfway house that helps them get back on their feet. Unfortunately the facility is located within the new restriction limit, and the funds aren't available yet to move the facility. So they can't go there. So the city ordered them to live -- now get this -- underneath a highway overpass. No, really. See, they're parolees -- they're stuck here, unable to leave the area lest they be in violation of their parole. But there's literally no place else the state can put them because of the new law. Bizarre, isn't it? Can't you just hear Joseph Heller rolling in his grave? They actually live outdoors, but under the cover of the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which is one of the bridges connecting downtown Miami to the Miami Beach area. They had to actually set up a special ordinance to "allow" these parolees to live outside -- they're the only parolees in the state who are "allowed" to live outside. Now to be fair, we have had a really wonderful, mild, pleasant winter! But holy cow, doesn't that just seem a little bit ridiculous? And to make matters worse, some of the men don't even speak English, so they're really having a hard time figuring out what their options might be. Well the story was "refreshed" this week when one of the parolees came before a judge. Apparently what happened was some folks in the community came forward to try and help out these men and see if there was a better place to put them. So a lot of time and effort was expended talking to the men, working their way through the judicial system and finally coming before a judge. Who promptly ordered the men right back under the bridge! I'm afraid that's where the story sits at the moment, but I just had to pass it on. Here's a link to a local write-up of this bizarre story: http://www.local10.com/news/11826349/detail.html Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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