A 1999 Florida law passed after a boy named Jimmy Ryce was raped and murdered at age 9 is meant to protect people from sex offenders by keeping the most dangerous locked up after they finish their prison sentences. An investigation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation into the law named in Jimmy's memory has uncovered shocking failures. Florida's safeguards have broken down at every stage, setting hundreds of rapists and child molesters free to harm again.
The newspaper found that for every sex offender the state has committed under the 14-year-old Ryce law, two others have been released, only to be arrested again for a sex crime. These men have cut a fresh trail of pain, molesting more than 460 children, raping 121 women, and killing 14. Many offenders attacked again only days after Florida let them go. Six found new victims the same day they walked out the prison gates. After reviewing the Sun-Sentinel findings, Esther Jacobo of the Department of Children & Families said the state would analyze a sample of reoffenders the newspaper identified to determine what went wrong as it reviews the program from top to bottom.