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Inmates Stalking, Harassing Victims Through Social Media — Facebook Deleting Accounts

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The newest entry in the seemingly never-ending litany of social media horror: prison inmates stalking their victims and organizing criminal activity through Facebook.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ National Gang Intelligence Center reports increased instances of inmates with active Facebook accounts. The inmates either run the Facebook accounts from behind bars or have an outside person do so on their behalf.

According to the Secretary Matthew Cate of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR), “[a]ccess to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity.”

Image: CDCR

The CDCR has been actively monitoring inmate Facebook accounts and reports “numerous instances” in which inmates have delivered threats to their victims or made unwanted sexual advances.

Last year, the CDCR 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.

This week, Facebook said it would work with law enforcement agencies across the country to delete inmate accounts.