[ View the story "Out of prison and onto Twitter" on Storify] Out of prison and onto Twitter Are ex-convict alerts via social media public shaming or public service?
The Stream· Thu, Jan 10 2013 14:58:09
Since August 24, Schiff has called out ten people released from prison on the account
. His last tweet containing convict information was on December 16, 2012. It is unclear why the tweets stopped.
lawyers working for Legal Aid vowed to sue after learning about the account. Concerns for the privacy of released offenders and suspects were part of the reason.NYPD Captain silenced because he tweeted about criminals to warn public - Brooklyn - U.s. - Catholic Online
In the United States, criminal records are public, and the use of ex-convicts' information on the internet
is not new
. In the online game
Pick the Perp
, players must guess which ex-convict was charged with a given crime:
In response to the
account, New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said:
"We want to examine the whole issue. Obviously, social media, we want to use it productively. We want to use it legally. A lot of this is just new ground. It needs to be examined, and that's what we're going to do,"Cop's Twitter Feed That Posted 'Release Alerts' About Ex-Cons Goes Dark - DNAinfo.com New York
Despite the controversy, some New Yorkers feel Schiff was providing a valuable public service:
@NYPDnews We want info from @76PrecinctNYPD on mtgs/events, at-large criminals and tips for a safer community. All Pcts should be tweeting.District Manager
New York Post writer Rebecca Harshbarger tweeted:
Others feel using social media to expose ex-convicts is counter-productive. Rachel Barkow, a professor of criminal law at New York University's School of Law said in
an interview with DNA info:
"I've seen other police departments and precincts using things like Twitter and Facebook to post people that they're looking for," she said. "I haven't heard of anyone doing it for this. It sort of undercuts the idea of someone reentering society."NYPD Captain Tweets Warnings About Felons Released from Prison - DNAinfo.com New York
Is this ethical? How will this affect future laws? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.