Dart to the Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) and other newspapers that publish mug shots from local arrests. In 2008, the Daily Press put up almost three hundred photographs of people arrested for crimes ranging from trespassing to murder. As of December 1, a link to the mug-shot gallery was featured on the Daily Press home page. The practice of publishing mug shots has grown, both online at The Smoking Gun, and in print, with do-it-yourself publishers launching papers containing mug shots and nothing else, such as the Jail in Orlando, and The Slammer, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Palm Beach Post also publishes a mug-shot gallery online, but prefaces it with an explanation that those pictured have not been convicted and are “innocent until proven guilty”—which is more context than the Daily Press provides. In all cases, the mug shots are displayed without consideration of news value or the cases’ outcomes. In the eyes of these publications, every person arrested deserves to be publicly humiliated. What’s next, the stockade? 

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.