On the outskirts of a rural town in an impoverished area of Palm Beach County, Florida, lies the small community of Miracle Village – home to over 100 sex offenders. Florida legislation requires offenders to live a minimum of 1,000 ft. from any school, bus stop or place where children congregate, yet many municipalities extend this law with local ordinances that increase the distance to 2,500 ft. In reality, this becomes extremely difficult to abide by, and many offenders struggle to find housing and re-establish their lives in society. The village, founded by a Christian ministry, seeks to help offenders that have no place to go.
The range of crimes committed varies– from serious offenses to consensual teenage relationships that had an age gap. The men are mixed in age, from various ethnic backgrounds, and they are all coming to terms with living with the permanence of this label.
Over the past year, Sofia Valiente has befriended, lived among and photographed the residents in Miracle Village where they have shared with her their stories of estrangement, solitude and rehabilitation. She has chosen 12 stories that show an intimate glance of what life is like in a community where everyone shares the same label.
Miracle Village was published by Fabrica—the communication research center of Benetton.