Following their release from prison, registered sex offenders are experiencing "horrid" conditions in Miami: Living outdoors near train tracks, they have no running water or toilets, and they share their camp with rats, the American Civil Liberties Union says in a suit. Their living area is a result of Miami-Dade County rules, which ban them from living within 2,500 feet of a school, the Guardian reports. "Housing restrictions like Miami-Dade’s have no impact on reoffending and are more likely to increase it," says an ACLU lawyer. "It’s a scramble to find food and water," and "many sleep on mats or in chairs."
The suit says those living at the site are being denied a constitutional right to safety. It also holds that county officials decided to count a youth center as a school last year in order to drive the group out of a trailer park in the area, thus prompting the move to the camp. The leading figure supporting the 2,500-foot ordinance is a powerful lobbyist named Ron Book, the Miami Herald reports. His daughter suffered molestation by her nanny, and the law is named after her. Book says courts have already backed the law, and he doesn't "support those with sexual deviant behavior living in close proximity to where kids are." (Read more ACLU stories.)