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Florida nonprofit agency helps released sex offenders

In previous posts to Florida readers, we’ve discussed some of the residency restrictions that convicted sex offenders may face upon their release from jail or prison. As many sex crimes lawyers might know, such limitations might prohibit a registered sex offender from living or being within 1,000 feet of areas frequented by children, such as schools, day care centers or parks.

One nonprofit organization is doing its part to ease the transition of sex offenders back into the work and lifestyle routines of ordinary citizens. Called Florida Justice Transitions, the organization helps offenders to rent mobile home units at Palace Mobile Home Park in St. Petersburg. The organization rents units from the park owner, and then offers them at individual rates of $350 per month, with up to three individuals in each mobile home. The park contains 80 mobile home units.

The Transitions organization also provides sexual counseling to residents of the mobile home, and tracks criminal activity. According to that data, the residents have a recidivism rate that is almost zero percent. Save for an incident last year, the organization president cannot recall another other repeat sex crimes since the home’s founding.

However, living at the park is not exactly like other neighborhoods. In addition to counseling, the Transitions organization also enforces a curfew and offers religious services. Such services provide structure to daily routines, which might ease the transition for newly released offenders accustomed to prison regimens. Staff members are also available to explain technological innovations and other current social trends to offenders who may not have had access to such innovations while in prison.

Source: tbo.com, “Mobile home park provides place for sex offenders,” Stephen Thompson, May 19, 2013

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