Prohibited Internet Access By Inmates Is Under Investigation

By

The Facebook page of Holmes Correctional Institution inmate, Pedro Bravo, has been active since his incarceration.

Bravo was found guilty on Aug. 15 and convicted of first-degree murder, as well as six other charges, following his trial for the murder of University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.

Bravo’s Facebook has been updated on three separate occasions since being sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole — his work title was changed to inmate at Florida Department of Corrections, his profile picture to a photo taken at the Alachua County Courthouse and an original poem was added.

Florida Department of Corrections press secretary McKinley Lewis said inmates don’t have access to the Internet or social media.

Once Bravo’s posts were brought to the Florida Department of Correction’s attention, it launched an investigation into the posts. According to Lewis, the department was able to confirm Bravo was not making the posts himself.

“His Facebook activity was a result of his father posting on behalf of him,” Lewis said. “[Bravo’s father] actually posted on the Facebook account while our correctional officers were watching the inmate.”

Bravo’s father complied with the department’s request that he post on the Facebook page himself to prove that he had the capability to do so. Only inmates enrolled in one of the Florida Department of Corrections’ educational programs have access to a computer.

Computers, however, are no longer alone in providing Internet access. Devices with Internet access, such as cellphones have become smaller, making them easier to smuggle into an institution.

All packages sent to an inmate go to a warehouse where they are thoroughly checked for prohibited items before they are delivered.

Jodi Lane, a criminology professor at UF who specializes in corrections, said although it’s unlikely, cellphones can be smuggled into an institution.

“They [inmates] can get them through visitors or can get them through officers,” Lane said. “Sometimes officers bring them in for trade for something else.”

Lane said a few things that make Internet access problematic in prison are gang communication, escape planning and inmates making money illegally.

In June, seven people including an inmate, relatives and friends  were charged with 10 counts of possession of contraband in a correctional facility for having cellphone access.

About Ashlyn Reese

Ashlyn is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

Check Also

Gun trafficker, former jail guard avoids prison time in controversial sentencing

Despite illegally selling nearly a dozen firearms, including one to a stranger who used it …