These prison officials are waaaaaay overboard. Yeah – the guys deserve punishment for smuggling in an illegal electronic device…But years?
They need to lock up some of these “corrections officials” for a few years in Solitary.
Seven South Carolina inmates received a combined total of nearly 20 years in solitary confinement after a rap video they created behind bars made its way to WorldStarHipHop.com.
Seven inmates in a South Carolina prison were punished with a combined total of nearly 20 years of solitary confinement — for making a rap music video and posting it on WorldStar.
The investigation into the rap video and the punishment were revealed in public records obtained by Dave Maass, an investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Last year, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) launched an investigation after the group of inmates released a rap video that made its way to WorldStarHipHop.
Records show five of the inmates received 180 days in “disciplinary detention,” while two others received punishments of 270 and 360 days, for “creating or assisting with a social media site.”
But additional punishments for “security threat group” (gang-related) materials, and possessing a contraband cell phone added up to a combined 7150 days, or 19.75 years, in solitary confinement for the inmates.
The inmates also lost years-worth of canteen, phone, and visitation privileges, as well as good time accrued.
The disciplinary records note that “video from http://www.worldstarhiphop.com was used as evidence.”
“When the video went viral the first time, viewers caught a fleeting glimpse of the creative energy that exists behind bars,” Maass told BuzzFeed News. “Now that we know how dearly each inmate paid for their participation, the video takes on all new significance. People in this country are still sacrificing their freedom and well-being for expression.”
The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) came under fire earlier this year after the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group,obtained public records showing that corrections officials punished inmates with dozens of years in solitary confinement for using Facebook and other social media.
- For example, Tyheem Henry received 13,680 days, or more than 37 years, in disciplinary detention in October 2013 — as well as more than 74 years’ worth of telephone, visitation, and canteen privileges — for 38 posts on Facebook.
Space constraints often lead to those punishments being suspended or lessened, though. According the EFF, the average was time served in solitary for the inmates it reviewed was 512 days.
In February, the SCDC announced it was changing its policy for solitary confinement, making 60 days the maximum punishment in solitary confinement for an infraction. It also stopped making each post on social media an individual infraction.
However, Stephanie Givens, a spokesperson for the SCDC, said the inmates’ punishments were reviewed and found to be appropriate.
“Their placement is not just tied to that rap video,” Stephanie Givens, a spokesperson for the SCDC, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s the fact that they are gang members and a continued threat to safety.”
The seven inmates are serving time for a variety of serious crimes, such as armed robbery, burglary, and voluntary manslaughter.
David Fathi, the director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, said the punishment of the seven inmates raised First Amendment questions….The Rest Here…