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Orange County Bar Association

Inmates Have Facebook Too!

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

Information has surfaced that inmates have set up their own pages on social media sites. The California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation has communicated with Facebook and reported inmate accounts. The site will “take down pages that have been updated since the owners went to prison” according to the Los Angeles Times. Some inmates have been able to post updates using smart phones. The cell phones are usually smuggled into the prison, possibly by prison staff. A contraband mobile phone can cost an inmate as much as $1,000.00. Smuggled cell phones are a problem officials are dealing with, but staff members are not searched before reporting for work, and it is not a crime for an employee to smuggle a cell phone. They can be fired but they cannot be brought up on criminal charges. The argument against allowing inmates to have pages on social networking sites is that they can continue to participate in criminal activity and it’s a medium that cannot be monitored by the department. For example, one inmate was able to view one of his victim’s pages and later sent drawings of her based on her uploaded pictures. The debate becomes whether or not it’s within the inmates rights to be allowed access to social networking sites or if it’s in the victim’s rights to deny such participation.

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