Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey Diddle Diddle...Summer Camp For Sex Predators

Remember going to summer camp, sitting around the campfire, singing all those kitschy campfire songs like "Gee, Mom, I Want to Go Home" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"?

I wonder what songs this group of "sex predators" is singing every night when they camp out "under a bridge," down by the river?

MIAMI — They used to be invisible, the four or five convicted sex offenders camping out on the Julia Tuttle Causeway connecting Miami to Miami Beach. But for three years now — pushed by local laws that bar them from living within 2,500 feet of where children gather — more and more criminals have moved in.

“At first, I thought ‘Tuttle’ was a halfway house,” said Ricky Dorzena, 23, sitting in the encampment his probation officers recommended five months ago. “Then they said, ‘No, you’re staying under a bridge.’ ”

At least 70 convicted sex offenders live here now, in a shantytown on Biscayne Bay with trash piles clawed by crabs. It has become what even law enforcement officials call a public-safety hazard, produced by laws intended to keep the public safe.
Not only that, but it's made the probation officer's job even tougher. Bad enough you are going to check up on "clients" in crime-ridden neighborhoods to begin with, but to have to go to a tent city for sex offenders and hunt for your probationer?

The camp is a community no one wants to exist. The first sex offenders here, like Patrick Wiese, 48, who said he served time in prison after having his stepdaughter touch him inappropriately, arrived nearly three years ago and would like to leave. Smoking a cigarette under the bridge on Thursday, Mr. Wiese said he wants to move to Homestead. He has money. He has a job at a sandwich shop, but cannot find an apartment that complies with the law.

“I’ve checked out 17 places,” he said, after displaying his Florida license, which lists his address as “Julia Tuttle Bridge.” “The probation officer says no.”
So they actually issue driver's licenses in Florida to people who list "under a bridge" as their primary residence. Outstanding.

But no matter, according to the prophets of get tough mania.
Jose Diaz — the county commissioner who sponsored the law establishing the 2,500-foot boundary in 2005 — said state corrections officials were to blame for placing sex offenders on state-owned land. He defended the county law by saying, “If I can save some kids from going through this agony, I’ve done my job.”
Er, he blames corrections officials for "placing sex offenders on state-owned land"? As opposed to where, the middle of the ocean? Or over the line here in Georgia?

As the evidence has shown for quite some time, banishment laws for people who have as serious a problem as pedophilia only aggravates the problem and leads to higher recidivism rates. No one wants pedophiles living next door to them, but exiling these people to rural areas (or under bridges) and isolating them from getting the help they need once back in the community, is throwing gasoline on the proverbial fire.

Along with illegal immigrants, sex offenders are the last, great source of crime as political capital for know-nothing politicians. And as par for the course, it's only years later (and camps full of pedophiles under bridges) do we realize the folly of such short-sightedness.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round...

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