Here is exile that is also asylum from the larger, unforgiving world. And when I say community, I don’t mean that bourgeois civic vagueness you always hear the co-op crowd chattering about.

I mean the kind of community that would protect you from vigilantes intent on dragging you out of bed in the middle of the night to take turns kicking your teeth down your throat.

I wake the next morning to the rustle of cane outside my window and the smell of bacon frying.

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Especially since many of them ended up homeless, which so often led to reincarceration.

So he searched Florida top to bottom, looking for a neighborhood that would comply with state and local ordinances, until he and Pat Powers found the site in 2008.

I apologized profusely for showing up early and offered to find a motel for the night, but one of the guys, Ted, said it wasn’t a problem, not at all, we’re happy to have you, we’ll fix you up in our guest room. He did it very formal, like: Rose, who isn’t the only woman in the village but who is the only registered female sex offender.

I apologized some more to Rose, who has faded green tattoos on her fleshy arms and the oblique demeanor of a log-truck dispatcher, but she shrugged and made a joke that I was welcome so long as I didn’t snore. Glenn was going to live there rent-free when he got out, but the statute for the city of Palm Beach Gardens says sex offenders can’t live within 2,500 feet of anywhere minors might conceivably convene.

I arrived on a Sunday and found my new friends just finishing up a game of touch football.

Everyone was all sweaty and out of breath and still laughing about how one of the guys, Glenn, had been running a fake reverse and collided with a clothesline pole.His granddaughter even got to where she’d ask if a guy was on probation."I can’t talk to you," she’d say, and that was that.Then he tells me that when Earl’s victim testified, it made Ted remember that he had created a victim, too, and by the way he looks me in the eye, I can truly sense that some kinds of regret must have a longer half-life than others: "Earl was delusional. All of the men are offenders themselves, employed by Matthew 25 Ministries, the nonprofit started by a man named Dick Witherow twenty-six years ago.Witherow, a kindly and selfless man by all accounts, knew the hardships offenders went through in the outside world and felt they needed their own place to start over.Since most of the guys were in shorts and flip-flops, it was easy to notice their ankle monitors, including one on a thuggish-looking kid with a shaved head and messed-up teeth who greets me, "Hey, Random Dude."Glenn looks and sounds like Matt Damon except for some pretty heavy-duty scarification on the inside of his arm. "I mean, that’s the master bedroom."The place is 5,700 square feet. They confuse the hell out of you, he says, since the distance varies.