ACLU Challenges Florida Residency Restrictions for Sex Offenders


For five years, Miami-Dade County's sex offender law has made national headlines as homeless parolees have been forced to move from street corners to parking lots because of a law that prohibits them from squatting near public spaces where children gather. The Miami Herald says dozens of homeless sex offenders have a voice arguing on their behalf. Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court reasoning that Miami-Dade County and the state Department of Corrections have violated the offenders' basic rights to personal safety, and to maintain a home.

“It undermines public safety. It's harder to find a job and maintain treatment. Housing stability is just as critical to these folks as to anyone else,” said Brandon Buskey of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. The man behind the controversial county ordinance said no one has the right to demand where they live. Ron Book, the powerhouse state lobbyist and chair of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, said the courts have upheld the residency restrictions, and the ACLU is simply regurgitating an issue that's been dealt with. “The U.S. Supreme Court has said they're entitled to live places that don't endanger the health, safety and welfare of law-abiding citizens of the U.S. … “I don't support those with sexual deviant behavior living in close proximity to where kids are.”

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