Corrections Department Secretary Matthew Cate said that access to social media allows inmates to circumvent their monitoring process and may actually be allowing them to continue criminal activity.
In a report on the Los Angeles times, it was said that a child molester who has been in jail for seven years recently sent up-to-date drawings of a victim to her house. The convict apparently got from her MySpace and Facebook pages.
According to a statement of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation corrections officers found 261 contraband cellphones behind prison walls in 2006 and this year, they found more than 7,200.
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) filed a bill that would make smuggling a phone to an inmate a crime punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Just thinking about how the cellphones were smuggled into jail makes me cringe and I am not thinking that they had found someway to bake these things into loaves of bread.
But seriously, in other parts of the world, access to communications is far from being restricted and are far from being a top concern next to inmates actually being able to just walk out of jail whenever they want to.
Some jails in parts of Asia are actually so terrible in keeping their inmates in that watching out for whether they are conducting criminal activities on Facebook or Twitter is the least of their problems.
Take the case of one Jason Ivler, the apparently misguided nephew of Folk Singer Freddie Aguilar. The guy has several Facebook pages with thousands of fans on it and continues to be quite active to this day.
Of course, it is usually the mother of Jason (Marlene Aguilar) who continually rants about the eventual downfall of the Philippine government and it’s not quite the same as sex offenders continually harassing their victims through the internet. Nevertheless, it gets one to thinking whether Facebook will actually institute a policy that bans known convicts from participating in the social web.
If so, it would certainly make for a safer experience as certain reported crimes have been committed with the aid of Facebook.
Paul Farol is a Filipino writer and blogger currently based in Manila. He is currently a media practitioner and is involved in community development projects in Northern and Southern Luzon, Philippines.