For about a decade, all New Jersey inmates as well as those who served their time and were released from prison have been featured on the state corrections department website. The Newark Star-Ledger says their information and photo is there for all to see, from employers and neighbors to parents skeptical about their kid's new love interest. Beginning tomorrow, the site will no longer include anything about former inmates who have been out of prison or finished parole for at least a year.
State officials say keeping these former inmates on the website can hinder their attempt to get a new start in life. So they are scrubbing them out of the database. The move drew cheers from civil rights groups who say ex-inmates deserve a second chance. Victims rights advocates and police unions say the public should have access to this information. Jim Ryan of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association called it “censorship” because details about an arrest or conviction may still be in cyberspace in a police department's press release or a news report. He said those on the corrections website represent a small fraction of people who are arrested but “they pose the most amount of risk to the public.”