Prisons and jails across the country have been looking for new ways to keep inmates off the Internet, not only by investing in controversial new cell-tracking technologies such as Stingrays and DRTboxes, but also using social networks as avenue to find and punish inmates.
South Carolina adopted a Level 1 social media offense [PDF] to punish “Creating and/or Assisting With A Social Networking Site,” defined as: “The facilitation, conspiracy, aiding, abetting in the creation or updating of an Internet web site or social networking site.”
SCDC defines “social networking” very broadly, covering everything from YouTube and Twitter to blogs and email, although all of the cases EFF reviewed [PDF] involved Facebook. Investigations are conducted by corrections officers and inmates are convicted during disciplinary hearings that often last mere minutes.
Since the policy was implemented, SCDC has brought 432 disciplinary cases against 397 inmates, with more than 40 inmates receiving more than two years in solitary confinement [PDF].