Tampabay10.com reports on a group of homeless sex offenders living in Lakeland:
Homeless sex offenders is quickly becoming a frequent scenerio in Florida. Miami New Times writer Isaiah Thompson broke the story back in 2007 with a fantastic piece on a group of sex offenders living under a local bridge. Through his reporting, Thompson found that the Department of Corrections was transporting sex offenders straight out of jail to a spot below an overpass, because it was the only place in Miami they could live due to strict laws on how far sex offenders can live from bus stops, apartment buildings and schools.
After that story broke, other reporters found similar circumstances in their own backyards, including right here in St. Petersburg. In 2008, I wrote about a group of sex offenders pushed out of a trailer park to possible homelessness.
Of course, few people have sympathy for sex offenders becoming homeless. Even homelessness is too good for some sex offenders, they say. But many readers miss the societal impact.
Homeless sex offenders are harder to track, rehabililate and re-integrate into society. In December, the Washington Post investigated the effect of residency restrictions on encouraging homelessness:
The issue is starkest in California, where the number of sex crime parolees registering as transient has jumped more than 800 percent since Proposition 83 was passed in November 2006. The “Jessica’s Law” initiative imposed strict residency rules and called for all offenders to wear Global Positioning System bracelets for the rest of their lives.
Named for a 9-year-old Florida girl raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender, the provision passed by a wide margin that reflected the powerful public emotion that experts and law enforcement officials say in this instance trumped sound policy.
Be prepared to see more of these stories showing up in the future.