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UK Newspapers Prompt Shutdown Of Cell Phones

Prisoners logged out of Facebook while serving time

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As we reported last month, Facebook has become a popular way to stay connected while serving time behind bars. While some may use the social networking site just to pass time, other more insidious characters have been using their profiles to send threatening messages or mock victims and their families.

The Daily Record in the UK has also been following the trend in their prisons and Jails. Last week they made it clear to prison authorities when they published a list of high profile prisoners who were posting regular Facebook updates from incarceration. The article featured names and candid quotes from the very Facebook profiles of the offenders.

The Daily Record announced yesterday that there has been action taken as a result of the publications. A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service commented in a quote to the paper:

“As soon as we were made aware of the use of Facebook by prisoners, we took action as quickly as possible and we will continue to do so on this matter.”

“We are very grateful to the Sunday Mail for bringing this to our attention”.

Apparently, the prisoners using Facebook in the Scottish prison have had their smart phones taken away and have been logged out of their Facebook accounts permanently. As of 2010, any person caught using a smartphone or other communication device while incarcerated is subject to having up to two years added to their present sentence. No mention was given if this action was taken in any of the cases.

In any event, all the abuses do bring up an interesting question about the degree of supervision these inmates are under while serving time. Justice spokesman David McLetchie summarizes it best with his comment on the matter:

“One does wonder though how they had failed to notice something that has been happening right underneath their noses.”

UK Newspapers Prompt Shutdown Of Cell Phones
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  • AnneDroid

    If David McLetchie is still able to say, “One does wonder”, etc, then clearly he needs to become more informed about prisons if he wants to call himself a justice spokesman.

    The self-congratulatory tone of the media in this article is also unhelpful and misrepresents the on-the-ground reality of prisons.

    Prisoners are NOT, and never have been, allowed smart phones, or any type of mobile phone. Nor are they allowed on the internet and they are certainly not allowed on social networking sites.

    However, prisoners are, unsurprisingly, prone not to be law-abiding citizens. Mobile phones are smuggled in to prison, kept hidden, and change hands for astonishing sums of money. The SPS does NOT just tolerate this but wages an ongoing and quite successful battle against them. Just how successful they are is clear by the prices that even ordinary mobile phones fetch in prison; if they were losing the battle, market forces would mean they were much less valuable.

    Cell searching is an ongoing part of prison officers’ work, and I can only imagine how incredibly irritating it must be to them to read this kind of journalism (and this kind of utterance by Mr McLetchie) which seems to imply that the SPS are just allowing prisoners to do what they please.

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