*Wow, something seems awry here. Prisoners are generally sent to solitary confinement for serious offenses like rape, murder, or taking a hostage. It’s not unusual to hear that someone is locked up in that cold, dark, but mostly lonely place for months at a time. But to send people to solitary for accessing Facebook – well, that’s a new one.
But nevertheless, South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is sending a message and setting a precedent by making “Creating and/or Assisting With A Social Networking Site” a Level 1 offense, a category usually reserved for the most violent violations of prison conduct policies.
Just when inmates thought they had some way to at least stay in touch with family and current events via social media, the rug has not only been pulled from under them, they’re being punished in a seemingly severe manner for accessing it. As a result, inmates are now seeking out family members to access their accounts for them, or using contraband cell phones to access the Internet themselves (another Level 1 offense).
Apparently, South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act discovered that prison officials have brought more than 400 disciplinary cases for “social networking” over the past three years.
Because SCDC issues a separate Level 1 violation for each day that an inmate accesses a social network, the charges often come with steep penalties, like the decades in solitary confinement and deprivation of virtually all privileges, including visitation.
Since the policy was implemented in 2012, SCDC has brought 432 disciplinary cases against 397 inmates, with more than 40 inmates receiving more than two years in solitary confinement.
Facebook has made it easy for prisons to report inmates for having profiles: using a form titled “Inmate Account Takedown Request.”
Here is a few of the inmates’ posts. Read more on this at TheGrio.