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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
​But what would you say if I told you that a South Carolina inmate will spend the next 37 years in solitary confinement because he posted Facebook status updates about missing his family?

Seems a little extreme, doesn’t it? They didn’t stop there, though. The man lost canteen, phone and visiting privileges for the next 74 years, so even when he’s out of solitary confinement in 2052, he won’t be doing anything but writing letters on good, old-fashioned paper (forget the holograms we’ll have by then).

Now here’s what makes it worse: the inmates who take hostages, riot and murder other inmates receive the same types of sentences. Those things, along with social media usage, are considered “Level 1 violations” by the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes it this way:

“The sentences are so long because SCDC issues a separate Level 1 violation for each day that an inmate accesses a social network. An inmate who posts five status updates over five days, would receive five separate Level 1 violations, while an inmate who posted 100 updates in one day would receive only one.

In other words, if a South Carolina inmate caused a riot, took three hostages, murdered them, stole their clothes, and then escaped, he could still wind up with fewer Level 1 offenses than an inmate who updated Facebook every day for two weeks.”

I won’t pretend that solitary confinement is unnecessary. In some situations, inmates need to be protected from each other and from themselves. Whether it’s moral to put someone in solitary confinement, I can’t say—but I can say that the United Nations considers it torture and wants it banned all over the world.

What do you think? Is punishing an inmate with decades of solitary confinement too much for something as simple as using social media? What would you do if you ran the South Carolina Department of Corrections?

Let’s discuss it on my Facebook page.

Carlos Gamino, Wisconsin criminal defense attorney

37 Years in Solitary... for Facebook Post
​By Carlos Gamino

In the state of South Carolina, it’s illegal for prison inmates to use social media. Sure, it’s understandable—incarceration is supposed to be a punishment, and prison officials don’t want their charges playing Farmville or flirting with old flames over the Internet.
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37 Years in Solitary for Facebook Posts

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