Date: February 20, 2019
“Since he was released from prison almost five years ago, John has never had a place he can call home.
Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he spends nights outside in remote areas of Miami-Dade County—sleeping outside on a mat or in the front seat of his son’s truck.
John (not his real name) was convicted in 1994 of a sex offense involving a minor. His homelessness is a direct result of the Lauren Book Child Safety Ordinance, enacted in Miami-Dade County in 2010, which bans individuals convicted of certain sex crimes, including those involving minors, from living within 2,500 feet of a school.
The ban effectively puts most populated areas of Miami-Dade off limits to him—which is why John is allowed to stay at his niece’s home, which is within the exclusion zone, during the day, but not at night.
The ordinance was named after Lauren Book who, after being sexually abused by a family nanny, went on to become an advocate of tough penalties for individuals convicted of sex crimes against minors. Brook, now 32, won a state Senate seat in 2016 as a Democrat representing Broward County.
Violating the ordinance can result in a $1,000 fine, jail for up to 364 days, or both.
John is one of seven homeless people who sued Miami-Dade County in a case brought jointly in 2014 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Florida, alleging that the ordinance has resulted in hundreds of people becoming homeless.
Legal Services of Greater Miami and attorney Valerie Jonas later joined the ACLU and ACLU of Florida in litigating the suit.”
We fight…because brazen B.S. like this, is absolutely unconscionable.
There is no world, in which anti-humane laws, rules and regulations like this are acceptable to exist, or be enforced.