Tweeting from the slammer

I didn’t follow the story of the arrest and conviction of Jeff Smith last year. Here’s a couple of grafs from Wikipedia:

“Jeff Smith was a Democratic member of the Missouri Senate, representing the 4th district, covering the western portion of the City of St. Louis. On August 25, 2009 he pled guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and resigned his seat. He admitted his involvement, and attempted cover-up, in two federal election law violations committed during his 2004 campaign for Congress.

Each conspiracy count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. He resigned effective August 25, 2009 and was sentenced to 1 year and a day of prison. He also was fined $50,000. His lawyer requested Smith be sent to a prison camp in Marion, Illinois.”

This morning I learned from @chadlivengood that Mr. Smith (@jeffmsith7027) is on Twitter. Seems Mr. Smith emails his tweets to a friend who posts for him.

I’m a curious why he has access to email but not Twitter? Anybody help me out with that? Would love to interview someone with the federal prison system who could illucidate.

Are there lots of federal prisoners on Twitter? Is there a list somewhere? What –if anything– does this say about social networking? Do prisoners within the same facility follow each other? Would it be tacky to do @fakejeffsmith feed with humorus tweets. Yes, I’m pretty sure it would.

2 thoughts on “Tweeting from the slammer

  1. I think that Mr. Smith opened himself up to tackyness when he started tweeting by proxy from inside the Federal Pen.

    What blows my mind is that they have email in Federal Prison!

  2. Federal prisoners can email but they do not have access to the internet. They pay to type emails on a computer within the prison and those emails are collected by the BOP and then forwarded to the recipient through a specific company online. The BOP likes it because they don’t have to pay staff to look for contraband, as in snail mail, and they can keep copies of all the emails and the list of the inmate’s email recipients. The person on the outside is free to forward the information to whomever they like, as in a Tweet. Forwarding any emails or letters from one federal prisoner to another is against BOP rules. Hope this clarifies the matter for you. As a side note, the more a prisoner has continued contact with the outside world, especially with family members, the better his/her adjustment once released from prison.

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