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Issue 17
Spring 2009

Helping America procrastinate since 1636

June 14, 2024

Facebook Now Open to Prison Population

ALCATRAZ ISLAND, CA - Following its controversial 2005 decision to grant membership to high school students, and its bold 2007 move to allow access to people above the age of 45, Facebook has finally opened the site to the entire U.S. prison population. The long expected move came largely due to pressure from the recently established competing site, Penster, which is also maneuvering to get its digital feet in the doors of the rapidly growing number of jail cells across the nation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told HSP, "This decision was long overdue. Did you know there are over 2 million Americans in prison? That's more than the entire population of 15 U.S. states! At this rate, some scientists project that over 90% of American citizens will be incarcerated by 2030, so it would be silly, nay negligent, of us to overlook an emerging market with such high growth potential."

Reactions to the move remain mixed among the incarcerated community. Some inmates, like former Colombian cocaine kingpin, and current Alcatraz cigarette kingpin Juan "La Cabeza" Obregon, have nothing but praise for Facebook. "I really like how Facebook has made such an effort to translate the site into multiple languages. It really opens up a lot of networking opportunities for the, um, Spanish speaking community, and it will really help me keep connected with my people on the outside." However, Alcatraz prisoner and multiple murderer, Mark Killgore told HSP, "I thought this whole Facebook thing was fine, until all these fucking high school students started trying to friend me." Similarly, Kevin Murcheson, convicted of 15 counts of fraud, embezzlement, and larceny, "shivered at the thought" of the dreaded friend request from his mother.

Rules on prisoner internet access vary from state to state, but more and more correctional facilities now argue that online access allows convicts to remain productive individuals even while incarcerated, preparing them for eventual reentry into society. "Many of these men and women will be walking our streets again," explained Sing Sing Penitentiary Warden Moustache Jefferson, "Do you really want them living on the outside, not knowing how to Twitterblog, sign up for Causes, or post incriminating photos of themselves, should they happen to fall back into crime?" Spelling and profanity issues notwithstanding, Jefferson reports that inmates are adapting well to Tweeting, with status updates ranging from, "Fucking Finding Jesus, Bitch!" to "On Hiway 51 cleanup wit' all ma gang mmbrz" to "Sodomizing the tax fraud guy".

Jailhouse Genius? Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Surprisingly, Warden Jefferson even seemed to have no problem with the rise of popular discussion groups like "Making Moonshine that Won't Kill Ya", "Best Places to Hide Dirt and Cutting Equipment", and "Top Ways to Kill the Warden", calling them "harmless outlets to blow off a little convict steam". The recent viral "25 Things You Can Do With a Staple Gun" spread even faster than the fecal/oral virus from last week's meatloaf. In addition, Sing Sing inmates raised an impressive, albeit ineffective, grass roots uproar this year after the popular Stabbulous application was taken down due to a copyright infringement suit raised by Hasbro, makers of the popular prison board game StabbleTM.

Despite all the positives, privacy concerns abound, especially among reformed pedophiles and sex offenders scheduled for early release, who worry that Facebook will keep their sensitive, stigmatizing information public even if they delete their profile. Other felons felt uncomfortable even listing information like "How Do You Know Keith?" when adding a friend. "It's one thing if you know Keith from license plate making, back in Juvee, or a previous heist" quipped inmate Jerry Jarvis, "But what if Keith killed your family?"

Others worry that the technology may exacerbate the level of drama amongst inmates. "For God's sake, the man's relationship status was 6 months out of date!" explained serial rapist Jacques Bernard, in tears. "That really hurt. I mean, I've raped and killed, and sometimes killed and then raped men for less! If he so much as drops the soap near me, or even looks at me during chain gang, I think I'll have to kill his sister again."

Other concerns have been raised about questionable advertising practices aimed at felons, as unscrupulous, predatory advertisers sink their teeth into this delectable growing market. Some companies have even agreed to accept cigarettes, booze, and "problem solving" as payments from inmates in lieu of cash or credit. Others have been selling crude weapons, facilitating secure snitching, and using false promises of early release to get inmates to "volunteer" for classified government or pharmaceutical experiments. In protest, some angry inmate labor unions have unilaterally boycotted Facebook, explaining that "Teamsters are not quite ready to be Friendsters".

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Despite the criticism, Zuckerberg remains unfazed, recently announcing plans to open membership to the prison communities of other nations, who "need Facebook's social networking tools even more than American inmates". In conclusion, Zuckerberg waxed philosophical, "Think of all the high school students who became Facebook members back in 2005, dropped out in 2007, and got caught selling drugs and sent to jail in 2008. If we hadn't opened up the gates to convicted criminals, we might have lost those users forever. But now we've still got them online, sharing information, interacting with other users, and buffering our highly robust revenue stream. At Facebook, we believe strongly in long term membership retention. The way we look at it, once you're on Facebook, you're on there for life".  HSP 





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