from: James Daniel at the UK Daily Mail
Tennessee prisoners post Facebook pics and videos of drugs, cash and parties from behind bars
Whilst the idea of prison is to curtail ones freedom, it seems that tens of inmates in Tennessee are living life to the max, behind bars.
Videos and pictures posted to around 100 prisoners personal Facebook pages show the convicts are surrounded by drugs, money and even get to party, despite being in jail.
Inmates aren’t supposed to have even have internet access, let alone have their own cell phones which are forbidden in prisons.
A district attorney from West Tennessee says a change in the law has to occur to prevent postings like this from happening.
Mike Dunavant has one federal prison, three state prisons, and five county jails in his district.
He told WAFB that the prisoners are getting around a loophole in the law.
For although it is illegal to bring a cell phone into prison, it is not illegal to posses one once inside. He says that law needs to be changed.
‘It’s certainly offensive to victims of crime and to citizens of this state who really expect inmates will not have access to the Internet, not have the luxuries of Facebook as we have,’ Dunavant said.
He believes the prisoners behaviour to be disturbing, offensive and dangerous.
One inmate revels in being in the slammed: ‘Between me and you, this s*** ain’t half bad,’
Burning down the house: It seems the prisoners can get away with virtually anything – here they burn a t-shirt in a cell
The videos show the prisoners taking drugs, smoking, hoarding snacks, giving each other tattoos, and in one photograph, burning clothes inside a cell.
On one video, a convicted murderer, Rivera Peoples, posted pictures and video, showing off his contraband iPhone he somehow got in prison to operate his Facebook page.
In another, an inmate asks Peoples how much money has collected while in prison. Peoples responds, ‘I’m a thousand, definitely a thousand.’
Other inmates show pictures of large amounts of cash as well.
One picture shows an inmate showing off $200 while in prison and another shares the photo on his Facebook wall.
Other Facebook videos show inmates watching TV, singing and rapping.
A convicted burglar Martez Wright posted videos of his exploits while in jail in Memphis.
He is seen showing off what he claims is marijuana and then shows off various junk food and snacks he and his fellow inmates have managed to hoard.
‘We’re hungry. About to eat a mother f****** feast. We’ve got scrumptious items we eat on a daily basis,’ Wright said.
Dunavant proposes stricter security screening for visitors and a cell signal blocking device inside prisons.
He hopes to have a proposal in place for law makers to consider when they reconvene in January.
‘Anyone who sees those videos, they’re going to be sickened by it. They’re going to be angry,’ said Verna Wyatt, executive director of Tennessee Voices for Victims, an advocacy group for crime victims.
The Channel 4 Newsteam which conducted the original investigation found inmates using Facebook not only to communicate instantly with family and friends, but also to talk to inmates in other prisons.
The fear is that despite being off the streets, the criminals can still organize drug crimes and violent crimes.
On one occasion two inmates at different prisons contact one another by posting their phone numbers on each others wall.
Many of the families of the criminals’ victims have said they are outraged at the freedom the inmates are experiencing.
The victims’ families said when the criminals were sentenced to prison, they never imagined them posting photos of themselves to Facebook watching TV or burying themselves in junk food.
Convicted murderer Brandon White, who killed Ryan Wright, posted pictures of his phone and holding $200 cash.
Ryan’s mother, Linda Wright told Channel 4: ‘That’s not punishment. That’s not any kind of punishment. It’s just like being out on the outside. It’s still freedom for them. We can never communicate again. And he [Brandon White] has access to be able to communicate with the outside world.’
The Department of Correction says every correctional facility struggles with contraband.
Some of the prisoners who have made postings online are now being investigated, especially those who are seen to be flaunting drugs.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections says 70 inmates at 14 prisons across the state have been disciplined and their offending Facebook pictures have now been removed.