Mugshots (Booking Photos)

Mugshots, formerly Booking Photos, are everywhere; they are often plastered across online platforms, magazines, newspapers, and more. Under current North Carolina law, any record held by a public entity may be public record, including booking photos. Law enforcement agencies regularly provide information like arrest reports with corresponding mug shots to companies that publishes the information, often for financial gain.  

Unaccountable private companies are using public databases to blackmail people who have been arrested for anything, whether they get convicted or not. Some groups demand up to $1,000 to take a person’s photo down. Being on these websites can affect people’s job prospects, housing, and other opportunities–not to mention their reputation in the community. 

Private companies should not be able to exploit this information. Access to people’s likeness should be limited, and booking photos should be regulated appropriately so groups can’t use the information for financial gain at the expense of a person’s reputation and livelihood.  

Criminal justice reform advocates Quisha Mallette and Lauren Robbins discuss efforts to curb the predatory mug shot industry

Listen below

Source: NC Policy Watch 


  • Criminal records of all types (even dismissed charges) cause devastating “collateral consequences” for many of the 1 in 4 adults (more than 1.6 million North Carolinians) with criminal records.   
  • People of color are even more likely to face severe barriers to reentry and opportunity.  
  • People striving to lead prosperous, law-abiding lives face unnecessary, exclusions from jobs, homes, and other opportunities for years after exiting the criminal justice system.   
  • Unregulated publication of mugshots undermines Criminal Record Relief reform laws, such as expunctions.