Facebook Crackdown in State Prisons

State prisoners might soon face harsh criminal penalties for using Facebook while behind bars. State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, is the primary sponsor of legislation that would make it illegal for inmates to belong to social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The bill would also target accomplices who aid prisoners in illicit online activity. Those who violate the law or help an inmate secure an account on one of these sites would face 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, under the proposal.

Gilliard said he was moved to act after recent accounts of at least a half-dozen state inmates using social media sites to get around prison rules and communicate with folks on the outside were reported to the Post and Courier. State officials worry prisoners will use this technology to taunt victims and carry on criminal activities from behind prison walls.

Some inmates use people on the outside to help them set up their accounts and check for messages. Others use cell phones and smart phones that are smuggled into state prisons despite the fact that any inmate caught with contraband like a cell phone faces time in “lockup”. Some 2,000 phones were seized in South Carolina prisons alone last year.

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Source – Charleston Post and Courier