A group of 253 “sexual predators” has nowhere to go from next Thursday when they will be evicted from a tent shelter installed on the street in an industrial area of Miami due to the strict laws of the county that prevents them from living near schools and children’s gardens.
Hanna Lamont, 55, who is registered in Florida as a “sexual predator,” told Efe that Miami-Dade County has very restrictive laws that do not offer them options for permanent housing.
According to a 2005 law, ex-convicts like Lamont can not establish their homes where there are schools, kindergartens, bus stops at about 610 meters (2,000 feet), while limits imposed by the state of Florida are less stringent, about 300 meters (1,000 feet).
Practically, under this rule, the only areas where sex offenders could legally reside within the county are the Miami Airport and the Florida Everglades, a marshy ecosystem.
Guatemalan Cristóbal Villa, 60, who has lived in one of the tents for three months after leaving prison, told Efe that the authorities should assign a plot of land where they can all live together.
“I think it would be better for the community, for the police, for the state, because they are always monitoring us, now we are going to be everywhere and that is going to cost the county and the community more money because we have to be supervised. “he said.
Villa, like the vast majority of the “sexual predators” of the camp, carries an electronic shackle on his leg and must be in the camp between 10 o’clock at night and 6 o’clock in the morning, in compliance with the “curfew”.
Brenda Tripp, one of the few homeless people who live in the camp and who is not a sexual predator, told Efe that if they do not comply with the eviction they go to prison and if they obey they go to prison also because they have nowhere to go that complies with the requirements of law.
“They are at a crossroads,” said Tripp.
“This is inhumane, they are practically being ordered to die,” Tripp said, noting that once they leave prison they are subjected to live in this camp without “roof, restrooms or food.”
In 2005, the new law led Miami-Dade County to establish a colony of “sexual predators” under the Julia Tuttle Bridge, one of the viaducts that connect the county with the city of Miami Beach.
Hundreds of sex offenders lived under this route between 2005 and 2010, when they had to evict her due to the national outrage that caused the situation and also due to pressure from neighbors who learned about the camp through the media.
After several transfers, the colony reached an industrial street near the city of Hialeah, which must be vacated next Thursday, among others due to the serious health conditions they face.
Lamont, who has lived in the tents for five years, said conditions are “getting worse” and that only in the last six weeks they installed portable toilets.
The eviction and subsequent relocation of these sexual predators has also sparked protests from neighbors in Miami-Dade County who do not want them nearby.
This weekend, residents of Kendall, about 33 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the current camp, took to the streets to protest against a possible relocation of ex-convicts of this group in an area near that city known as The Hammocks, that borders on a territory of the Miccosukee tribe, in the swamp of the Florida Everglades.
The ex-convicts had until Sunday to vacate the camp, however, the deadline was extended until next Thursday.
County officials have been criticized for statements about rental assistance, up to six months, provided by Miami-Dade, to those “can find an address that meets the requirements.”
The civilian Action Committee for Florida, which seeks to educate about “sexual predators,” noted that this is “like telling a man without legs that I will give him free shoes.” efe