Friday, April 6, 2007


A number of Miami sex offenders, now that they have been released from prison, are living under a bridge (I can see the Troll references already) because local laws that restrict where they can live make it pretty much impossible for them to live anywhere else. There's nothing they can afford that isn't within 2,500 feet of a school, so there they are.

Dade County Commissioner Jose Diaz, who created the ordinance, has no problem with this state of affairs. He's busy being a Hardass on Crime.

"My main concern is the victims, the children that are the innocent ones that these predators attack and ruin their lives. No one really told them to do this crime."
The idea that you can throw people away like this lets Commissioner Diaz have his cake and eat it, too. He's able to hold this up for people, to show that he's effectively punishing sexual offenders for life - without having to deal with the messiness of determining if a life sentance is appropriate to the crime, or with shelling out the corrections dollars that would be needed to fund life sentances.

I doubt that many people care about the hardships that the offenders themselves go through - the fact that they've been effectively sentanced to homelessness, or their fears of being murdered by some mentally-ill person or vigilante - after all, they are criminals, and sex offenders at that. There's not much room on the sympathy train for people like that.

But when you throw people away like that, the idea that they're going to turn to a life of quiet desperation, patiently awaiting forgiveness that will likely never come, is sheer idiocy. Sooner or later, if these guys can't assimilate back into society, they're going to turn to crime - if for no other reason than to get back into prison. It's not unheard of - William Crutchfield shot a mailman seven times in a bid to get into federal prison - which he decided was better than being bankrupt and on the street. Similarly, back in the 1990's a man who'd been in prison for the rape of a teenager, after he'd been out for about six months, kidnapped another teen and basically made her model some clothes for him before dropping her off on a shopping mall outside Chicago. His motive: wanting to be in jail - which he saw as being better than being on the outside. To make a long story short, if we make being in jail the best thing that these men can aspire to, they're going to find a way to get back in. Whether you have any sympathy for them or not, it's not only a waste of resources, but it carries a potential and unnecessary threat to public safety.

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