Wash. prisons ask Facebook to disable inmate accounts

Aug 26, 2011

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington prison officials are following California's lead. This month they asked social media giant Facebook to agree to disable active inmate accounts.

In California, some prisoners have obtained contraband smart phones and used them to post status updates to their Facebook pages. One inmate bragged about how he trounced his fellow convicts in a game of handball.

But more sinister uses have also been alleged: like an inmate who used social media to track down his victim.

In Washington, correctional officers have found a few smart phones, but agency spokesman Chad Lewis says they’ve not detected any criminal activity.

"So far the communications we've had are mostly male offenders contacting their friends or their spouse or girlfriends." Lewis says. "We haven't seen a case of somebody using social media to arrange an escape or contact a victim or contact a gang member."

Even so, the Washington Department of Corrections is asking Facebook for the same deal the company recently struck with California prisons. If the agency finds an inmate is updating his page, or getting someone on the outside to do it for him, the company will agree to take it down.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network