Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Look Who's In Jail!!

"Look who's in jail!" That’s the pitch used on the cover of “Cellmates,” a weekly publication that rounds up mug shots of people arrested in Palm Beach County, Florida. For US$1, you can take home hundreds of mug shots, and maybe you’ll see someone you know, which seems to be one of the reasons the publication exists. Scan the magazine rack at a local convenience store and you might see an array of criminals staring back at you from the periodical’s cover. There are pretty women charged with battery, smirking men locked up on drug charges, and plenty of dazed looking faces filled with surprise and exhaustion. The periodical promotes itself as “Enlightenment, Entertainment and Deterrent.”
“SEE WHAT THE CHARGES ARE INSIDE!!” reads another teaser on the cover. “Cellmates” also publishes a round up of sex offenders and teenage runaways in its pages. The “Cellmates” office answering machine says that if you’re arrested, your mug shot is a public record and may be published in the periodical. It also says that they will not accept any payments from people looking to buy their way out of the publication’s pages. And yes, people have tried.

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