Facebook to Shut Down Criminal Accounts

Dennis Faas's picture

When an individual is incarcerated after committing a crime against another, their sentence is supposed to offer some peace of mind for the victims. However, in California jails, contraband smartphones are helping criminals keep tabs on their victims via social networking sites.

This year, California corrections officials have reported receiving hundreds of complaints from victims who have been contacted by inmates from beyond prison walls. The most serious case concerns a convicted child offender who had viewed the Facebook and MySpace pages of his victim several times before mailing the family accurate drawings of the little girl.

Contraband Smartphone Figures Quadruple

The problem can be seen in the sheer presence of smartphones making their way into prison cells within the last five years. In 2006, 261 contraband cell phones were taken from inmates. This figure skyrocketed to 10,760 in 2010. (Source: canoe.ca)

Contacting victims isn't the only problem posed by the use of contraband smartphones. It also gives high-ranking gang members the ability to order crimes on their behalf. These kinds of calls are usually made after hours, from prison cells that lack adequate supervision.

Facebook Launches Crackdown Campaign

In light of these disturbing events, Facebook has teamed with corrections officers to begin closing the accounts of prison inmates in the state of California. Already two convicted offenders have seen their Facebook accounts shut down, while officials continue to uncover other social networking accounts accessed from behind bars.

There is one major problem with the crackdown effort, however: Facebook will continue to allow inmates to use the site if they are housed in a state that allows them to access the Internet. That being said, California prohibits inmates from using the web, so the proposed campaign is not an issue there. (Source: msn.com)

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