Know thy Neighbor - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Know thy Neighbor

March 19, 2003

Albany -- Do you know your neighbor? You can now find out if parolees live in your neighborhood. There are names, addresses and pictures of the nearly 22,000 parolees in Georgia on the Internet.

Thirty-three-year-old parolee Eric Powell looks at his picture on the "Know thy Neighbor" web site. Powell said "I think it's a good thing because people want to feel safe in the community."

Powell has been on parole since August 2001 for burglary. Powell has now turned his life around, and says he thinks the Parole web site, even with his picture and information, is a good idea.

Powell said "Because I have kids, and I certainly want my kids to be safe in the community."

The Web site has a complete database of Georgia's parolees. You can type in your ZIP code, and it will list the parolee's who live in your neighborhood, picture, most serious offense, and beginning and ending parole date.

Albany's Chief Parole Officer, Leslie Lamb, said "We had 78% of them working. They are good, responsible people trying to become good responsible citizens. No, you don't have to panic. It just makes good sense to know who your neighbor is."

Albany Parole officials say many parolees are against the Web site as an invasion of their privacy. But many like Eric support it. Powell said "I don't look at this like a hindrance. I look at it as a tool for me. To do better."

The Know Thy Neighbor web site received almost a half million hits it's first day of operation.

posted at 4:20PM by jimw@walb.com