that some of America’s 2.3 million prison inmates have a new hobby, Facebook stalking.
Despite the fact that they are incarcerated and supposed to have no access to the internet, inmates seem to be having little trouble smuggling smartphones into prisons and going online. Food for thought, next time you engage in a heated argument online, you should entertain the possibility that “fluffybunny3” is not a teenage girl, but rather a brawny member of the Aryan Brotherhood doing a 15-year stint in San Quentin and “3” stands for the number of people he shot.
Lisa Gesik of Sacramento is now avoiding Facebook altogether, since her ex-husband is trying to ‘friend’ her. The ex-husband is serving a lengthy prison sentence on account of kidnapping Lisa and her daughter, which really doesn’t sound like a friendly act. Gesik says she is considering going into hiding with her daughter and she feels victimized all over again.
Sadly Lisa’s case is not an isolated one. California’s department of corrections confiscated 12,625 phones in the first ten months of 2011. Six years ago they found just 261 phones, so the problem is clearly getting worse. Inmates seem to be using their newfound online freedom not only to stay in touch with their friends and family, but also to intimidate witnesses, coordinate criminal activities and stalk their victims.
Authorities have identified the problem and legislators have already enacted a new law, with provisions for stiffer penalties for inmates and prison guards who smuggle phones. From a technical standpoint, it would seem logical that the problem could be resolved by installing jammers in prisons. However, the sheer number of prisoners makes this seemingly simple solution rather unpractical and costly.