Facebook vs. The California Prison System

August 16, 2011  |  

I stumbled on a story earlier this week about California prison inmates updating their Facebook profiles with phones that were smuggled into the prison. As a response, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wants Facebook to shut down the pages of prison inmates. The report quoted the CDCR Secretary saying “Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity. This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.”

Sound logical right? Call me crazy but I think that the CDCR needs to not worry about what Facebook is or isn’t doing to curb prison inmates from using social networks. I think the CDCR needs to focus on how prison inmates are getting cell phones in the first place. According to the article, prison employees are more than likely the ones who are selling cell phones to prisoners at the rate of $1,000 bucks a pop (How a prison inmate gets hold of a grand is another rant for another time).

Instead of our already corrupt prison system taking matters in its own hands and cracking down on the prison employees who are capitalizing off of prisons inmates wanting to be more “social”, it would much rather coerce Facebook to solve its problems. Don’t get me wrong; just like cyber-bullying, stalking pedophilia, and other societal ills that plague social networking sites like Facebook, I can see how it’s probably not a good idea for prison inmates have contact with the outside. But the problem is not social networking; the problem is what people are using it for. So to point the finger at a tool will never really solve the problem. It’s clear that the CDCR needs to invest more time and money in cracking down on its employees who are enabling this kind of behavior.

As long as technology can foster good in the majority of humans, there will be a minority of suspect individuals who will use it for…whatever. I think as a society, we need to examine and provide solutions for why people are the way they are instead of punishing technology for making it convenient for people to be they way they are.

I’m a Husband, Father, Consultant, Writer and all-around “Jack of All Tech” who is constantly giving folks the “Low Down” on technology on my blog BrothaTech. I also get my tech-writing hustle on via various tech-related sites all over the interwebz. My main tech topics include: mobile apps, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, small business, social media and related web-tech. Yeah, I Tweet about tech (and some other stuff) too. Look me up @BrothaTech

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