Arizona's 'Jail Cam' Makes EarthCam.com's list of '25 Most Interesting' Sites

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UPDATE 01/28/09: Maricopa County's jail cam is no longer active.

Anderson County, Tennessee had two live, streaming jail cams, but has discontinued both. Anderson County, Tennessee does offer a live feed of its dispatch audio (click on "Live Dispatch Audio" in the left-hand column). The Harris County, Mississippi Sherrif's Department also seems to have discontinued their jail cam.

Fueling the debate surrounding the posting of booking information by law enforcement agencies around the country, the Maricopa County Sheriff's "Jail Cam" was voted one of the "25 Most Interesting Webcams" by the Earthcam.com Network. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's controversial set of four cameras catch all aspects of the booking and incarceration experience of prisoners in his Maricopa County Jail facility.

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"It is punishment by humiliation, where there are people who have been brought into the jail, they have been arrested but they have not had the benefit of a trial," Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, told CBS TV's The Early Show in an interview last summer when the cameras were first launched. "In this country...a judge or a jury gets to determine guilt and impose punishment."

The sheriff defended the cameras to CBS as a means of showing Arizona taxpayers how the jail system is working, because "taxpayers deserve to see what goes on in the jail system."

The site, located at http://www.mcso.org/, offers pictures so small, that it would be difficult to recognize an individual based on the camera's images alone. (Click on the "Jail Cam" icon in the middle of the page to access the cameras.) Other jurisdictions, such as the Los Angeles County (CA) and Broward County (FL) Sheriffs Departments have made a database of their booking logs, searchable by name, available online. These records include all individuals booked by the jurisdictions, regardless of whether they have been found guilty or innocent, or even if they have been to trial yet at all.

The Jail Cam shares space on the list with the Loch Ness Cam and the Happy Wash (laundromat) Cam. A complete list of the top 25 is located at http://www.earthcam.com/top25/2000/index2.html.

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