by Kate Knibbs
In South Carolina’s prisons, an inmate who secretly writes Facebook posts about missing his family can be punished the same way as one who rapes a cellmate. Hundreds of inmates are being handed down indefensibly harsh punishments for using social media, including one man, Tyheem Henry, who was sentenced to over 37 years in solitary confinement for writing 38 Facebook posts.
In addition to almost four decades of solitary confinement, Henry lost 74 years of canteen, phone, and visiting privileges. His case is extreme, but he’s not the only one: The Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered over 400 cases over the past three years where inmates were disciplined for social networking as Level 1 violations, the same as rioting, homicide, hostage-taking, and a host of much more violent and serious transgressions. More than 40 prisoners got over two years in the hole. What the hell?