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the reactionary part of me loves every bit of this....the rational side isnt so sure.






MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The sparkling blue waters off Miami's Julia Tuttle Causeway look as if they were taken from a postcard. But the causeway's only inhabitants see little paradise in their surroundings.

Five men -- all registered sex offenders convicted of abusing children -- live along the causeway because there is a housing shortage for Miami's least welcome residents.

"I got nowhere I can go!" says sex offender Rene Matamoros, who lives with his dog on the shore where Biscayne Bay meets the causeway.

The Florida Department of Corrections says there are fewer and fewer places in Miami-Dade County where sex offenders can live because the county has some of the strongest restrictions against this kind of criminal in the country.

Florida's solution: house the convicted felons under a bridge that forms one part of the causeway.

The Julia Tuttle Causeway, which links Miami to Miami Beach, offers no running water, no electricity and little protection from nasty weather. It's not an ideal solution, Department of Corrections Officials told CNN, but at least the state knows where the sex offenders are.

Nearly every day a state probation officer makes a predawn visit to the causeway. Those visits are part of the terms of the offenders' probation which mandates that they occupy a residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

But what if a sex offender can't find a place to live?

That is increasingly the case, say state officials, after several Florida cities enacted laws that prohibit convicted sexual offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks and other places where children might gather.

Bruce Grant of the Florida Department of Corrections said the laws have not only kept sex offenders away from children but forced several to live on the street.

"Because of those restrictions, because there are many places that children congregate, because of 2,500 feet, that's almost half a mile, that's a pretty long way when you are talking about an urban area like Miami, so it isn't surprising that we say we are trying but we don't have a place for these people to live in," Grant said.

For several of the offenders, the causeway is their second experience at homelessness. Some of them lived for months in a lot near downtown Miami until officials learned that the lot bordered a center for sexually abused children.

Trudy Novicki, executive director of Kristi House, said the offenders' presence put the center's children at risk. "It was very troublesome to learn that across the street there are people who are sex offenders that could be a danger to our children," she said.

Keeping the rats off


With nowhere to put these men, the Department of Corrections moved them under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. With the roar of cars passing overhead, convicted sex offender Kevin Morales sleeps in a chair to keep the rats off him.

"The rodents come up next to you, you could be sleeping the whole night and they could be nibbling on you," he said.

Morales has been homeless and living under the causeway for about three weeks. He works, has a car and had a rented apartment but was forced to move after the Department of Corrections said a swimming pool in his building put him too close to children.

The convicted felons may not be locked up anymore, but they say it's not much of an improvement.

"Jail is anytime much better than this, than the life than I'm living here now," Morales said. "[in jail] I can sleep better. I get fed three times a day. I can shower anytime that I want to."

Morales said that harsher laws and living conditions for sex offenders may have unintended consequences.

"The tougher they're making these laws unfortunately it's scaring offenders and they're saying, 'You know what, the best thing for me to do is run,'" Morales said.

A Miami Herald investigation two years ago found that 1,800 sex offenders in Florida were unaccounted for after violating probation.

Florida's system for monitoring them needs to be fixed, says state Senator Dave Aronberg, who proposed a bill to increase electronic monitoring and create a uniform statewide limit that would keep them 1,500 feet away from places where children go.

'We need to know where these people are at all times," Aronberg said after CNN invited him to tour the bridge where the sex offenders live. "We need residency restrictions, but just don't have this hodgepodge of every city having something different."

State officials say unless the law changes their hands are tied, and for now the sex offenders will stay where they are: under a bridge in the bay.

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i dont have a whole lot of sympathy for people who molest kids, but alot of these laws are fucked, and tend to be more centered around apeasing the public than offering any kind of real solution. no matter what someone does, you cant make it completely unrealistic for them to exist, then expect them to exist.

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Yea I was gonna say get out of florida but they cant do that I forgot about that.The only thing i gues they can do is commit crimes and go back to jail. Which really isnt an improvement on anything...

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they are definitely pieces of shit, thats for sure. as seeking said, its definitely more there to appease the public. my first reaction was "good fucking riddance" but beyond that, programs like this really dont offer anything positive to the community or society which should really be the focal point here.


when these guys decide to get up and walk into the city they are officially off the radar....

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Well if you don't want them to be free, why the fuck aren't they in jail then?

Lock them up or let them go. Oh yeah, you can't let them walk free.

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its like they mentioned in the article. you make it so difficult for them to possibly follow the rules, so they go off the radar, then you have no clue who the are, which completely defeats the original purpose.


imagine the scenario these dudes face...you get out of prison, you have no job, no money, no place to live, you cant live anywhere in the city near potential jobs, because its near a park or a school, or a beach, or a daycare or any number of things. you cant get a place outside of the city, cause you dont have a job, and even if you have one, how are you supposed to commute to it? you basically have to hope you have family who live in an area that is suitable for you to live in, otherwise you're screwed.


it really annoys me when reactionary ignorance governs us.

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