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California inmates getting Facebook profiles disabled

by CACorrections via FlickrWith over 760 million users, Facebook is keeping everyone connected to everyone else – including prison inmates. From their brick-and-mortar cells, prisoners incarcerated in California are using their Facebook accounts to observe and interact with the society they were shunted away from.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has a problem with this of course, and they’re working with Facebook security to shut down profiles that have been updated during an active prison term.

“Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity,” CDCR secretary Matthew Cate said in a release. “this new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.”

One of the incidents highlighting this problem happened last year and involved an incarcerated child molester who still had the ability to stalk a former victim through Myspace and Facebook pages. The victim’s mother received mailed drawings of her 17-year old daughter with accurate details of the girl’s hair style and favorite brands of clothing.

2 by CACorrections via Flickr

An investigation turned up a cell phone the inmate had used to access the web for the girl’s photos. This has apparently been a problem as there has been a sharp rise in cell phones smuggled into the prisons since 2006. Officers have confiscated more than 7,284 mobile device in the first half of this year alone.

The CDCR has been actively monitoring Facebook accounts set up by these inmates or for these inmates. Officials have come across multiple incidents where victims were threatened or propositioned by people thought to be safely locked away. It is not illegal for a prisoner to have had an account created prior to incarceration, however there is a definite problem with them being able to access and update profiles during their sentence.

If you suspect any Facebook accounts of being administered by or for an inmate contact the CDCR at their toll free number 1-877-256-6877 or e-mail victimservices@cdcr.ca.gov