You’ve done a bad thing and are now going to prison. What’s going to happen to your Facebook profile? According to a recent news article, inmates may keep their Facebook profiles open while they’re in prison, as long as they’re not active on them while incarcerated.
Meanwhile, accounts set up while prisoners are incarcerated will be taken down. The concern is that prisoners use Facebook to stalk their victims or conduct criminal activity. According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Dana Toyama, “victims who fought hard to put their offenders behind bars are being re-victimized. It’s evolving as Facebook has become a huge social networking site and a place for gang members to talk and coordinate inside and outside prison.”
However, not everyone agrees with the inability of prisoners to use the social networking site. “Many prisoners might much rather use social media (instead of, say, letters or phone calls or even emails) to keep family and friends updated on how they are doing while they serve their sentence,” says law professor Douglas Berman and author of the blog Sentencing Law and Policy.
Berman suggests the creation of a new social networking site, perhaps to be called FelonSpace, that would be “well-developed in consultation with prison officials and experts in corrections policies and practices [and] perhaps could provide prisoners and their family and friends with social media benefits without the risk of harmful misuse.”
What do you think…has social networking become so important in our lives that even prisoners should have the ability to stay connected when serving their sentence?