Maybe it was the daily protests against racial injustices like the killing of George Floyd, or the pandemic and resulting furloughs, but Florida newspapers are finally getting the memo about publishing mugshots without context.
"The Orlando Sentinel is discontinuing the posting of arrest mugshot galleries effective today," began the three-paragraph post on their site. "We’ve come to realize that without context, the galleries have little journalistic value and may have reinforced negative stereotypes."
The change was overdue.
Orlando Weekly readers certainly love (like, really love) our online slideshows, but we have never published mugshot galleries.The reasons why are pretty simple. Arrest rates are racially disproportionate, and mugshots can cost jobs, housing and more, all before a defendant even faces judgement in court. Although public records laws would allow us to download and display photos of arrestees, doing so subverts our justice system's already tenuous presumption of innocence, exposing the individuals to public shaming and scrutiny before they've been tried or convicted.
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