Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Facebook Me from Jail

For those of you that have been faithful readers, you'll remember that I am an admitted stalker.

I'd like talk about some other stalkers.

Part of any prosecutor's caseload is a hefty dose of cases where visitors to a jail bring unlawful items to prisoners. In New York, this is called promoting prison contraband and, if the item is dangerous, it's a felony.

Some of the usual items confiscated during visitor searches - tobacco, cigarettes, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, knives, guns, razor blades, and scalpels. Let your imagination roam free about where these items are stored on a person's body.

These items are not allowed in prison because they're extremely dangerous in that community. People will literally kill and maim each other for them. The same items are removed daily from a prisoner's cell as well. So that means, visitors are somehow succeeding in getting the items in despite the jail's best efforts.

So, what does this have to do with Facebook and stalking?

The latest contraband entering the prison population is cell phones. As Yahoo! reports, in California alone this year, they have confiscated over 12,000 phones from inmates.

12,000 phones are making it into prison populations in one state alone. Incredible. What's more incredible is the audacity of the prisoner to use Facebook or other social media to intimidate the witnesses against them. States everywhere are just beginning to catch up with this epidemic. We still see the face-to-face witness intimidation or bribe, but it is facing extinction.

From a prosecution standpoint, witness intimidation cases are difficult to prosecute when the threat is over the computer because it is hard to prove who sent the message. Passwords can be given away and fake accounts can be created by anyone.

Witness intimidation is not the only issue either. Cyber-bullying, sexting, and stalking need to be addressed as well. The news reports these issues every day.

Criminals are not constrained by budgets and police protocols. They are able to purchase and learn the latest technology without having to get approval from their bosses. We need the current computer generation to get involved in solving law enforcement's inability to keep up with technology and we need visionary leaders to tackle these problems today. Laws need to be changed to address these new technology crimes. If so, law enforcement in ten years will hardly resemble that of today.

Click on the link at the beginning of this post for a list of ways to avoid becoming an on-line victim.

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