As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure public safety both inside and outside the state’s prisons, California Department of Corrections has been actively monitoring Facebook for accounts administered by inmates or on behalf of an inmate. The department has seen numerous instances in which inmates, using their Facebook accounts, have delivered threats to victims or have made unwanted sexual advances.
Last year, California Department of Corrections received a call from a mother of a victim of a child molester. The family had just returned from vacation to find several pieces of mail from the offender who was in state prison. The mail contained accurate drawings of the woman’s 17-year old daughter, even though it had been at least seven years since the offender had been convicted and sent to prison. Details of the victim, such as how she wore her hair and the brand of clothes she wore were accurate. An investigation revealed the inmate had used a cell phone to find and view the MySpace and Facebook web pages of the victim.
With access to the pages, the offender was able to obtain current photos, which he used to draw his pictures.
Inmates are allowed to have Facebook profiles created prior to incarceration. If any evidence shows the account has been used while in the facility, Facebook Security will disable the account.
Over the past few years California Department of Corrections has seen a massive influx in the number of cell phones being used by prisoners. In 2006, correctional officers confiscated 261 devices, while in the first six months of this year, more than 7,284 were confiscated.
To report a Facebook account that you suspect is being administered by an inmate, or an outside party on behalf of the inmate, please contact California Department of Corrections’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights & Services, call toll free 1-877-256-OVSS (6877) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Law enforcement representatives and members of the public can notify Facebook security of accounts administered by registered sex offenders. To report a registered sex offender’s Facebook account visit: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=15160#!/help/contact.php?show_form=wos_sex_offender
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