Prisoners pester on Facebook

March 30, 2011

South Carolina has proposed a bill that would make it a crime for any inmate to set up a social media outlet while in prison.

This bill, proposed by Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, would be the first bill of its kind in the whole country that would limit social media within prisons.

Inmates can access Facebook and other popular social media through smart phones, which are illegally smuggled inside prison walls.

Inmates not only use the sites to update their status and keep in touch with family and friends, but some victims and victims’ families have remarked that the inmates use the sites to stalk, harass and threaten them.

Adding 30 days to a prisoner’s sentence and requiring him to pay a $500 fine are penalties to be associated with the bill, and families or friends of prisoners could face misdemeanor charges if they are caught setting up social networking pages or posting any messages for prisoners on the Internet.

“Stalkers, batterers and gang members live to intimidate, harass and terrorize their victim; that’s what they do,” said Veronica Swain Kunz, CEO with the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network, in a Fox News article. “Anybody on Facebook can reach out and send a message to anybody they want to, and it could be a really terrorizing thing for them.”

There needs to be a more specific line drawn to define a prisoner’s free speech rights, and privileges. This bill will help to define such rights and privileges. Ordinary citizens need to see that prison life, to put it lightly, is less than ideal without the rights and privileges many individuals take for granted.

“It will send a message to our youth that crime does not pay,” Rep. Gilliard told Fox News. “We have to get back to reforming people. We have not done that. We have given them an outfit where they feel comfortable.”

This should not be an issue in the first place because they are using contraband smart phones to access social media, and besides, Facebook currently shuts down accounts when they learn of an individual’s imprisonment.

A criminal should not have any type of interaction with the outside world other than pen and paper, which is monitored by the prison. Social media is a privilege, not a right.

The Tech Talk editorial staff believes people on the outside are safer if inmates’ are not granted access to personal information and means of communication to unlimited social media users.

There are already plenty of creeps on the Internet, and ordinary citizens do not need prisoner’s contributing to this already predator-ridden world.

Despite the fact that prisoners should have the privilege is asinine, and it is outrageous that there are those, including the American Civil Liberties Union, who defend prisoners in this case.

The ACLU likes to point to the First Amendment to defend prisoners.

While prisoners should be granted some form of free speech, their conviction strips them of certain rights.

Social media should not be an exception of inmates’ already monitored communication policies, since nearly all communication entering and exiting the prison walls is closely inspected.