Outside of Atlanta, Georgia, there is no other place for sex offenders to live but in a wooded area behind an Atlanta office park. Probation officers say it’s a place of last resort for them. Nine sex offenders live in tents surrounding a makeshift fire pit in the trees. They are waiting out their probation sentences as they face numerous living restrictions.
Georgia has one of the nation’s toughest sex offender policies. The law bans the state’s 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, parks and other spots where children gather. These Cobb County sex offenders living in the woods is the only place homeless offenders can stay in order to comply with the law.
Probation officials closely monitor the sex offender camp because public safety is the chief concern. The sex offenders are required to report once a week and a field agent is sent to the camp at least twice a week. When a sex offender lands a job, he can move into permanent housing.
This wooded outpost also illustrates the unique dilemma the law creates for homeless sex offenders, who unlike other homeless people, cannot take shelter in a church or curl up in a park because they are barred from both. South Florida also has a tent city for dozens of homeless sex offenders. They moved under a remote bridge because it was among the few places that complied with local ordinances.