Convicted sex offender Juan Martin under Miami bridge
Let's agree that convicted sex offenders elicit little to no sympathy from society generally. Their crimes, especially those committed against children, are among the most abhorrent society must confront.
Nevertheless, there's something profoundly troubling about dozens of convicted sex offenders living under a bridge in Miami because of laws forbidding them to live within so many feet of locations where children typically congregate. In Miami-Dade County, it's 2,500 feet.
NPR's All Things Considered this evening featured a report by Greg Allen on the existence of a Miami tent city of sex offenders.
A question asked by a state senator seems the most pertinent. In Allen's report, Sen. David Aronberg asks: "How is it that an army of angry homeless sex offenders who are roaming our streets, how does that make us safer? It does the opposite."
Aronberg wants to replace the confusion of county and city ordinances with a new state law that would create a single 1,500-foot restriction for sex offenders, making it more likely they could find real places to live, Allen reports.
It's not clear to me how the 1,000 feet between the Miami-Dade ordinance and Aronberg's proposal would make much of a difference. But at least he's offering up an idea.
Furthermore, the current Dade County ordinance may be having the unintended effect of making sex offenders less visible, an obvious problem. Allen reports:
State prison officials and probation officers are not happy about the situation under the bridge. They believe it is leading sex offenders to stop registering with the state and go underground.
An ugly situation all the way around.