TRENTON - A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that paroled sex offenders can be barred from Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online social networks.
Two offenders had gone to court to challenge that restriction, saying social networks are important ways to get news, information and find business opportunities.
However, a three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the offenders can be kept off social networks as a condition of parole. The judges said that they agree that the networks are an important facet of modern life but that there is a good reason to keep convicted sex offenders off them.
"The provisions are legitimately aimed at restricting such offenders from participating in unwholesome interactive discussions on the Internet with children or strangers who might fall prey to their potential recidivist behavior," Judge Jack Sabatino said in his opinion. He noted that the parolees can still get news and buy products online.
The panel also notes that state parole officials have a regulation about social networking restrictions and that offenders had been told about it in advance.
In the same ruling, the judges found parole officers also can require offenders to submit to polygraph tests. But the court said the group of former inmates who challenged the lie-detector tests could challenge the way the tests are used.