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Community for Sex Offenders Offers Fresh Start

Posted February 27, 2014News

A town in Florida is creating a safe haven for the state’s convicted sex offenders, offering protection and privacy for both its residents and the surrounding communities, sex crimes attorneys in Seminole County say. In Miracle Village, between 115 to 120 mostly male residents, all who have spent time behind bars for various sex crimes in Florida. The village, located near Pahokee, in the swamps of southern Florida, offers these people a chance to get back on their feet, while remaining in compliance with the state’s regulations regarding sex crimes. 

Florida’s Public Safety Information Act, passed in 1997, was intended to increase public awareness of criminal offenders, especially those who have committed crimes of a sexual nature. In 1998, the state’s legislators passed additional amendments to this and the Florida Sexual Predator Act, both aimed at bringing Florida into compliance with federal regulation regarding sex offenders, and providing extra notifications to daycare centers, local schools, and other child-friendly areas. According to these laws, all persons who have served time for sex crimes must be identified through registration with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). This registration must be done in person, within 48 hours of release from prison or under custody of the Department of Corrections. 

Sex offenders must also provide up-to-date contact and location information, including any changes of address, immediately upon moving. Florida law makes it illegal for sex offenders to live within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and local parks. Even if an offender does manage to find a residence that meets all the proper criteria, landlords can refuse to rent based on criminal history. Once the offender has found a home and registered, a local sheriff or county official is required to notify every licensed day care facility, and elementary, middle, and high school within one mile of the person’s established residence. This information is also available on websites, run by each state, which provide home address and personal information of anyone who has ever been convicted of a sex crime. Any failure to maintain, acquire, or renew a driver’s license or other form of photo ID, or failure to provide accurate location information or otherwise comply with the state requirements is considered a third degree felony, and can lead to loss of parole or further sentencing, including jail time.

By establishing a community home for sex offenders, set several miles from the nearest towns, Miracle Village’s director has created a place where these people have a chance to rebuild, and to make themselves better, without constantly confronting derision and social stigma from others around them. In 2009, when Matthew 25 Ministries began housing sex offenders in the town, the buildings were run-down and rat-infested, but now, many of the homes have been rebuilt, and renovations for the others are in the work. The chance to live in this small community makes it easier for offenders on parole to find jobs, go grocery shopping, and become productive members of society. 

At the Law Offices of Ryan N. Yadav, our sex crimes attorneys represent anyone who has been charged with crimes of a sexual nature, or anyone who is trying to follow the state’s laws after serving time for a sex crime. If you have questions about your requirements or your case, contact Ryan Yadav for a consultation today. 

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