Thursday, April 5, 2007

under the bridge downtown / i gave my life away

i just gave an upbeat star-spangled interview about florida's move to enfranchise most former felons. as soon as i hung up the phone, however, minor threat sent word that the state has not completely abandoned the practice of dehumanizing former felons.

you've really gotta see the video to appreciate the story. like many places, miami-dade county has such restrictive rules for housing sex offenders that almost anywhere they live would violate the terms of their release. the shelters won't take them and they can't live anywhere near parks, schools, or daycare centers. yet these folks can't be homeless either, since their release is conditional on occupying a residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. according to a local story, a PO gave one poor guy the following directions to his new residence: "Go over the bridge. Once over the bridge, go under it towards the west side as far as he can go."

nice. according to cnn, the former felons are living under a bridge on the julia tuttle causeway, which offers no running water, electricity, or protection from rats and inclement weather. yet a state probation officer makes an early morning visit to the bridge every day to enforce the probation condition that they occupy a residence.

call me a soft-on-crime liberal egghead, but i don't think under the bridge is a viable long-term solution to public safety problems. in the short term, perhaps one of my florida pals could drive by and drop off a tent -- unless camping is against the rules too.

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