TUPELO • After more than a decade of publishing mug shots on their website, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office halted the practice over the weekend.
The images of current inmates as well as people who had been released 48 hours prior were still being shown Friday, May 10. By Sunday, they were gone.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson did not respond to a call Monday afternoon from a Daily Journal reporter asking about the blackout. Instead, a post on the sheriff’s department Facebook page about 20 minutes later explained the change.
“Due to rogue websites/social media pages who are threatening and harassing citizens from photos pulled from our website, we will no longer provide public access to booking photos,” Johnson said in the post. “All information required under the Public Information Act is still posted.”
There were at least two Facebook pages that posted the mug shots and arrest information from the Lee County Jail. “Lee County MS Inmates” had been around for several years but the page is now disabled. It will not appear in a search. The “Busted North Mississippi” page is still active but has not been updated for more than a week since the anonymous host announced he was quitting due to safety concerns.
The blackout includes all inmates at the Lee County Jail, both new and those who have been in the jail for months.