BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "Don't make me a prisoner in my own home." It's the message from residents in one Birmingham community who say too many sex offenders are moving into their neighborhood. The complex, off 36th Street North, is a ministry for sex offenders. The founders says 12 offenders live there; but FOX6 obtained documents from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department website explaining 18 offenders are registered at that address.
Neighbors in Norwood say it's excessive and one local state representative says it's 100% against the law.
The facility is called the Shiloni Transformation Ministries. When Fox6 asked Founder Bill Grier what the ministry was for he said, "all sex offenders, that's all we do here." Grier says offenders are under tight rules and restrictions, required to sign in and out when going and coming and are recorded on surveillance 24-7. "Who are we to say there can't be hope for anybody," Grier says. "The grace of god is far extending beyond our capabilities to comprehend."
Resident Mary Boswell doesn't dispute that. But, as she looks through the 50 or more sexual offender registry cards she's received in the mail, she says she's not comfortable with the ministry just about a block away. "We have to watch out for our children, they can't go outside and play," Boswell says. Grier says he's in compliance with zoning requirements, "Zoning requires only 3 residents per apartment...this is an apartment complex," Grier says. When FOX 6 asked how many offenders were living in his complex he said, "Ummm...about 12."
State Representative Oliver Robinson points to Alabama State Law, Code 13A-11-204. 'No adult or unrelated juvenile criminal sex offender shall establish a residence or other living accommodation in a residence where another criminal sex offender resides...'
"They are breaking the law if 2 or more individuals are living in an apartment or single family house, that is against the law in Birmingham" says Robinson.
The law has only been in effect since September of 2007. Boswell says she hopes it will change the scenery in her neighborhood. "There are sex offenders, why should I do the time, don't make me a prisoner and other people a prisoner in their homes."