The Tech Herald

Prisoners caught using Facebook to threaten victims

by Steven Mostyn - Jan 31 2012, 14:48

Image: CxOxS/Flickr.

If picking up the pieces isn’t hard enough already for victims of crime, getting back on track is all the more difficult if they’re receiving online harassment from those who are supposed to be paying the price within the prison system.

More pointedly, figures released by the UK Ministry of Justice have revealed that incarcerated criminals often use social networks such as Facebook to openly mock, taught, and threaten victims and their families.

Although prison inmates are not permitted to have Internet access, the report notes that almost 350 have been caught posting to Facebook via smuggled Web-enabled smartphone devices.

By way of reaction to the figures, Families Fighting for Justice campaigner Jean Taylor said that such conduct by imprisoned criminals equates to torture insofar as it keeps focus on the victim(s).

“They are getting away with torturing their victims,” she said. “The social networking sites should police this much more closely.”

And Taylor’s comments have been supported by Victim Support campaigner Javed Khan, who said that criminals using Facebook from behind bars “makes a mockery of the idea that they are being punished.”

Facebook has said it always acts swiftly to remove any content that violates its usage policy. Between July 2009 and June 2011, the network deleted a total of 342 profiles following investigations made by prison officials.

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