A small village in Florida was created in the 1960s in the middle of sugar cane fields to house the people who worked there. Some of these sugar cane workers still live there, but these days half of the residents of this “Miracle Village” are registered sex offenders. Since 2009, Miracle Village has been home to about 100 sex offenders who have nowhere else to go. Florida, like many states, has a law that forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of anywhere children congregate, such as schools, parks, bus stops, and day care centers.
For many, this makes it nearly impossible to find somewhere to live. Miracle Village’s closest neighbor, however, is about three miles away through fields of sugar cane.
Miracle Village was founded by Dick Witherow, a pastor and leader of a Christian ministry. He wanted to give people who were registered sex offenders a chance to live a somewhat normal life. The charge “sex offender” is so broad that some people bear the mark without truly deserving the social shunning that comes with it. David Woods, for example, had consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend while he was 19, reported the Daily Mail UK. He bears the same title of sex offender as people who have committed more dangerous, predatory crimes. Alas, Woods is now registered sex offender and will be for the rest of his life. He lives in Miracle Village with his wife, Lecil Woods, because they both would be homeless otherwise. Since most residents can’t find anyone who will hire a registered sex offender, some operate a lawn care business and work other odd jobs.
Because it is so unique, Miracle Village receives about 100 applications for residence a week. According to the New York Times, medically diagnosed pedophiles and people who have violently raped strangers are not admitted. Despite the concentration of sex offenders, there has not been a reported sex-related crime in Miracle Village since it was founded. Overall, it is a happy, secluded community.
[Image via Daily Mail UK]