Wednesday, December 06, 2000

State puts info on felons online

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — The calls may be from friends, suspicious neighbors or even law enforcement authorities wanting the who, what, when and especially where on Kentucky's felons.

        Answers are now just a click away.

        Information about Kentucky's 15,100 inmates, and eventually for the 75,000 felons with prison or probation records since 1974, is available online at a new Corrections Department Web site.

        “We have hundreds of callers every day,” said Corrections counsel Steve Durham. Some are as simple as wanting to know the whereabouts of friends in custody; others could be critical issues of tracking down the records of people in custody.

        Information about inmates can be obtained by using their name, date of the crime they committed or conviction or other background.

        Jack Ellis, overseeing the project, said the system will be updated three times each day. So while an inmate's transfer from one institution may not be immediately reflected, Mr. Ellis said it shouldn't take long.

        Ernie Lewis, chief of the Department of Public Advocacy, which represents most convicted felons once incarcerated, said the information available is public record now. But Mr. Lewis said he is concerned someone who served time years ago and then turned their life around could be forced to face a felonious past again.

        Mr. Lewis said he also fears that some might use the site to identify felons and their families and prey on them.


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