Documentary: "Sex Offender Village" | Hillman Foundation

Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

Documentary: "Sex Offender Village"

When sex offenders get out of jail in Florida, they may find themselves with nowhere to legally live. Local laws may prohibit them from living within a thousand feet of a school, a park, or even a bus stop because children might congregate there. As a result of being on the sex offender registry, some offenders end up homeless, living in colonies with fellow offenders because they can’t find anywhere else to live. 

“Sex Offender Village” is short film about Miracle Village, a community that houses sex offenders who have nowhere else to go. The compound is surrounded on all sides by fields that extend for miles. Medically diagnosed pedophiles and offenders who committed crimes against strangers are banned from Miracle Village. In Florida, the term “sex offender” encompasses a very wide range of deviant conduct, from rape and kidnapping to consensual sex with minors. One of the subjects in says he was convicted of having consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend when he was 18 or 19. As sex crimes go, it’s a pretty minor offense, but it nevertheless carries a life sentence on the sex offender registry, which renders him effectively unemployable even if he leaves the state because he will be listed as a sex offender online for as long as he lives. The filmmakers argue that Florida’s sex offender laws are overly punitive and ineffective at protecting the public. 

Click here to watch the film.