California Cracking Down On Inmate Facebook Accounts

Prison officials in Facebook’s home state have announced that they’re notifying the social network’s security department about profiles and pages set up on behalf of inmates, which violates the site’s rules.

Inmates often manage to maintain Facebook accounts with help from family, friends and gang associates outside of prison. Prisoners have been accessing the site via smartphones smuggled into corrections facilities.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has confiscated more than 7,284 cell phones just in the first six months of this year, up from 261 five years ago.

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said in a press release:

Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity. This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.

But prisoners are trolling Facebook for profiles of their victims’ relatives, along with those who’d testified against the convicts at trials. The mother of a child molestation victim had contacted the CDCR about receiving mail from the criminal while he was in state prison; the missive included his drawings of the woman’s 17-year-old daughter, a good seven years after he’d been incarcerated.

While other states are just beginning to get tough on inmates accessing Facebook, California’s state senate is mulling a potential law that would make smuggling a phone to a prisoner a crime punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail. The bill was introduced by Democratic state Senator Alex Padilla of Pacoima, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Readers, what do you think is the best combination of measures that would keep convicts off of Facebook?

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