For more than a decade, the sex offenders left homeless by Miami-Dade’s prohibitive residency restrictions have settled beneath bridges and highway overpasses, in abandoned lots, and along train tracks. Nobody wants them in their communities, and the sex offenders themselves would rather be anywhere but on the street.
Last week, Miami-Dade County issued a cease-and-desist notice prohibiting the sex offender colony from continued use of the property. The Florida Department of Health declared the camp a “sanitary nuisance,” according to the notice. Dozens of offenders must leave the encampment by December 5 or face arrest.
“These people are just trying to survive, and we keep moving them around for really no good reason,” says Gail Colletta, president of the Florida Action Committee, an advocacy organization that works to reform sex offender legislation. “It’s all about punishment and a NIMBY mentality. These are human beings being treated worse than stray animals.”