Investigation shows prisoners displaying drugs, cash on Facebook
(WMC-TV) - Facebook posts and videos have been spotted showing drugs and money, but they are not being posted by people in the community, but instead, prisoners.
It is a trend being seen across the state of Tennessee, and West Tennessee is no exception.
Those prisoners are posting these videos on their personal Facebook pages from inside prison walls.
The posts display cash, drugs, and other items. Now, one West Tennessee district attorney says something has to be done to change the law to keep this from happening.
"It's disturbing, it's offensive, and dangerous," said West Tennessee District Attorney Mike Dunavant.
A recent investigation from WSMV in Nashville reveals more than 100 inmates in Tennessee prisons are operating their own Facebook pages.
In the videos, inmates boast about living the high life in prison.
"Between me and you, this s--- ain't half bad," proclaimed one inmate.
The investigation revealed inmates also using Facebook to communicate with family and friends, but also to inmates in other prisons.
"They can organize drug crimes, violent crimes, other types of coercive behavior," added Dunavant.
One inmate, Martez Wright, is shown operating his Facebook page and posting videos of his exploits inside the Shelby County Correctional Center.
District Attorney Mike Dunavant has one federal prison, three state prisons, and five county jails in his district.
He says it is illegal to bring a cell phone into prison but not illegal to posses one once inside. He says that needs to be changed.
"It's certainly offensive to victims of crime and to citizens of this state who really expect inmates will not have access to the Internet, not have the luxuries of Facebook as we have," Dunavant said.
Dunavant proposes stricter security screening for visitors and a cell signal blocking device inside prisons.
The Department of Correction maintains every correctional facility struggles with contraband.
Dunavant says he has talked to Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, who said she is now looking into that prisoner, Martez Wright, who was shown displaying drugs.
Dunavant says he plans on working with legislators throughout the remainder of the year and hopes to have a proposal to tighten cell phone laws inside prisons ready to take to legislators when they reconvene in January.
In all, the Tennessee Department of Corrections says they have disciplined 70 inmates at 14 prisons across Tennessee after this investigative report.