February 13, 2009

ACLU of Florida communications office, (786) 363-2737 or

MIAMI – The Miami City Commission unanimously passed a resolution yesterday asking Governor Crist to convene a taskforce of experts and lawmakers to address the growing public safety, health and housing crisis being created in our communities as a result of patchwork laws restricting where people who have previously been convicted of a sex offense can live. The ACLU stands firmly behind the commission’s plan, which was also endorsed by Miami City Police Chief John Timoney.

In a similar action, the ACLU of Florida sent a letter in June of last year to Gov. Crist asking for the creation of a taskforce to respond to the current crisis and determine an effective means of ensuring public safety.

“These are serious problems that we as a community are facing, and they aren’t going to go away until we all sit down at the table and find a solution,” said Courtenay Strickland, Director of Public Policy, ACLU of Florida. “Though well-intended, the patchwork of residency restrictions has the unintended consequence of forcing people to become homeless. Shoved under a bridge, these people are placed in very stressful living circumstances that can increase the risk of re-offense and has already driven some to flee, which can be very dangerous for everyone. It’s time for the governor to bring everyone together and create a solution, instead of turning a blind eye and hoping it will go away.”

In Miami-Dade County, the multitude of local ordinances has displaced people – many of whom would otherwise have a place to live in the county – who are now forced to live underneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Similar situations have arisen in Broward County and other parts of the state.

Download a PDF of the ACLU’s June 2, 2008 letter to Gov. Crist here:

About the ACLU of Florida
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our Web site at:

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2009 Press Releases