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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are 72 sexually violent predators living in Duval County. The men have been locked up in the Florida Civil Commitment Center, but when they're released, they have to go somewhere.

Donald Bell makes his living off of them.

"I don't make a lot of money, but I love what I do. I really do. I am hyped up on what I do," he said.

A registered sex offender himself, he knows Florida law on the issue inside and out.

Bell's in the middle of renovating a new facility that can house up to 54 violent sexual predators on the northside of Jacksonville.

The back patio overlooks a swing-set in the yard next door.

"There is no regulation to say that I can't have a place next to them,"
Bell said.

The family moved out as soon as Bell's employer, Southeast New Start Transitional Housing, bought the property.

But for their purposes, it was perfect.

Miles away from schools or day cares, Bell says he spent over a year looking for a property that would fit their needs.

"Out of 50 properties I look at, maybe one will pass the criteria for certain crimes. Predator being the hardest," he said.

Bell says the need for housing for sexually violent predators is at an all time high in Jacksonville... besides, he says, where else would they go?


"You can actually be a predator or a sexual offender, and live out in the woods, in a tent. You only need a rock or a tree that you can check in at once a month," Bell says.

This way, he says, at least people know where they are, know what to watch out for.

"You have a box full of snakes, and you know where they're at. Then you turn around and you dump that box out. And that's the way the rules of the state go," he said.

Prisons, jails, and the civil commitment center for sexually violent predators start giving recommendations to inmates on where they can move a year before their release.

Bell says his company has grown popular with the department of corrections because he runs his houses strict.

"I tell them when they come in: I've played all those games before. I know what you're going to tell me before you know what you're going to tell me," he said.

He says he knows how difficult it can be for some of these men to start their lives over.

"This is my way of redeeming, I don't think that's the right word... making amends for what I've done in the past," he said.

He wants his clients to make amends as well.


Bell encourages each of them to carry a Bible.

"I go to church almost every Sunday, and I take my clients with me when I go," he said.

For $125 dollars a week, the men get a new bed, hardwood floors, air conditioning and heat... but they're expected to pull their own weight.

"Neat. I require them to have all beds made in the mornings. If I walk in to the room and it's messy, someone is going to get chewed," he said.

Bell is on a first name basis with most of their probation officers, and knows their phone numbers by heart.

He says he doesn't hesitate to violate a man on his probation and send him back to jail if he's out of line.

If they want to make it on the outside, he says, they have to own up to their crime.

"Denial is a very big part of this crime. I didn't do it. No, no, not me. I couldn't do something like that," he said.

And while he spends his days encouraging these men, convicted of violent sexual crimes that they can change, they can stop hurting people... he's terrified that they won't.

"I worry about it every day. Every minute of every day," Bell said.

Sexually violent predators are the most likely to re offend... according to the Department of Children and Families, at least 10% of men charged with sexually violent crimes will do it again.

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