Lee laying down inside his room in Miracle Village. Lee went to prison when he was 18 and served 12 and a half years of his 15 year sentence. He is serving the other 2 and a half years on conditional release. His restrictions include a 7pm curfew, no driving other than for employment purposes (he is also not permitted to drive alone). No internet, monthly urinalysis, no contact with minors even family members, GPS monitoring and paying the cost of his supervision. He must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
Doug after a day of working outside. He helps out in the community by doing occasional lawn work and other maintenance jobs. Doug lived in a tent in the woods prior to coming to the village. Because of distance restrictions he was unable to go home after serving his time and had difficulty finding a place to live.
Matt exercising in the village with David and Lee. “Growing up with my mom was enough, I’m ready to move on. All I did was go to school and take care of the house. It was like living in boot camp. She was the one that called the cops on me in order to protect her job, or so she said.”
A photo of Matt with his mother and grandmother, who came to visit him while he was in prison.
David’s house, Miracle Village, Fla. All sex offenders must register their home address once every three to six months and every time they move.
David smoking a cigarette outside his house where he lives with his mother since his release from prison. “My mother is my rock…she stood beside me from start to finish.”
Rose, sitting outside of the church. “People judge you, you’re a monster,” says Rose. “I am the only female here who is a registered sex offender. I can go to court and pay hundreds of dollars to get it taken away, but it doesn’t bother me now. All these guys look to me as a sister.”
Gene laying down with his dog Killer for a nap. “Only a fool would truly trust anyone if you are a sex offender,” he says.
Paul’s house, Miracle Village, Fla.
Paul sitting beside his bed in his new home right after being released from prison. He has been a resident of Miracle Village for over a year “There is no judging, for those who are here have the same name.”
Tracy’s House, Miracle Village, Fl.
Tracy cleaning off leaves from his porch. He is HIV positive. His medical condition played a factor in him getting released from the Florida Civil Commitment Center, a sex offender treatment program in Arcadia, Florida where he was sentenced for an indefinite amount of time.
Tracy wearing his wig and a shirt that he designed in his bedroom. “About a year before I was released my son Jamar got the number to my dorm at the Florida Civil Commitment Center and we started talking and getting to know each other. I didn’t think I would ever see him again. Once I made it out, my son called me and asked if he could come stay with me. I said yes and Nov 26th at 1:45am he showed up to my front porch. I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, love and surprise but when my son called me daddy to my face the love just flowed between us and I was happy to answer all the questions he had for me.”
Ben playing with his cat Cindy on his day off from work. He works at his mom’s office in Hollywood, Florida 4 days a week. It takes him 3 hours of driving each day to go to and from work. He must be back home in Pahokee before his 10pm curfew.
Richard in his kitchen. “Up until the age of 18, I had a terrible stutter. I hated talking. I was always a good student and often knew the answers to the questions asked in class. However, I never raised my hand because I dreaded being called on. My stutter was bad, and when I was talking to a girl it was even worse. When I discovered chatting in 1988, that I could communicate without having to talk, it was the greatest thing ever.”
Doug sitting near the entrance of Miracle Village. “I was traveling with the carnival until I was 20 years old, ” he says. “I had a friend of mine named Chris Billows, also known as Nightwolf. Him and my mom used to work at McDonalds together. After I got into trouble I became homeless and couldn’t get a job so I lived 2,500 feet into the woods. Sometimes my friends would come hang out and we’d play manhunt.”
The following letters were written by residents of Miracle village. The photographer asked subject to write his or her own story. (Best viewed in full screen mode for legibility)