Want to go to jail?
- By Daniel Keegan
- Aug 07, 2000
You can go to jail without leaving the comforts of home by logging on to
the Georgia Department of Corrections' World Wide Web site and taking a
virtual tour of a cell block, a dormitory and a prison kitchen.
The feature was one of many that were added when the department retooled
its Web site in May. Other features
include a sex offender registry, the ability to search for an inmate by
name and retrieve a color photograph, and a search for statistics, such
as white males jailed for armed robbery.
"It's all simply to tell everyone the truth about what we do," said
Brian Owens, the director of the Office of Planning and Analysis for the
Last summer, a working group of about six people began to brainstorm
ways to update the department's site.
The idea was to make the department as open to the public as possible,
Owens said. The idea for the 360-degree prison tour was an effort to provide
an "unfiltered view" of what prison is, he said.
"I don't think you'd deter people with it," Owens said, "but you'd dispel
myths about prisons." He said most opinions about prisons come from movies
and the media, information that is often very distorted.
The virtual tour also serves as a way to attract people to the site.
Once there, people would then see the other features. When the site was
launched, the department recorded 2.8 million individual pages accessed
in the first 72 hours.
Owens said the site is still being updated, including the virtual tour.
In the future, there could be virtual tours of alternative centers, such
as transition, diversion and detention centers, he added.