Up to 40 convicted Florida sex offenders cannot find legal homes, says the Miami Herald. The problem is expected to get worse as more convicts are released and find it nearly impossible to find housing. In Broward County, three men were kicked out of four locations in two months as they struggled to find housing. Of the three, two are back in jail after violating a condition of their release. In Miami-Dade, groups of sex offenders live in makeshift communities, such as one under a bridge. Said civil rights lawyer Randy Fleischer: “Under the law, they’re not protected from discrimination in housing. And yet they need to live somewhere, but where do you put them? People will say, `I don’t want them in my backyard.’ ”
Several years ago, Florida lawmakers crafted rules stating that convicted sex offenders who were released from prison couldn’t live within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate, such as schools and parks. Municipalities followed with their own beefed-up restrictions. In theory, the offenders could move to places that have fewer restrictions and fewer children. But offenders from South Florida tend to stay there. Even convicted sex offenders have a sense of home. ‘Some of them have said, `Even though I don’t have a place to live, all my resources are here.’ Family, jobs, things like that,” said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections.