National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Things you should have easy access to, but don’t

From Detroit Free Press

About five years ago, finding out whether your new neighbor spent time behind bars for murder, rape, robbery — even writing bad checks — required little more than an Internet connection.

That's because the state Department of Corrections' Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS) maintained a free public database of people who served time in Michigan prisons. The system not only listed convictions, it also said whether the offender was still on parole and added physical details such as height, weight and any tattoos. It often included photos.