Shutdown of Facebook accounts at killers’ jail

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Prison bosses have shut down illicit Facebook accounts for inmates at Wakefield’s notorious maximum security jail.

Details obtained by the YEP under the Freedom of Information Act reveal investigations were launched over the past 12 months into up to five accounts in the names of serving prisoners at the jail, which houses some of the country’s most infamous sex offenders and killers.

Because of data protection issues, officials said they could not give the exact figure, or say which inmates at the prison, nicknamed Monster Mansion, were found to have links to Facebook accounts.

The accounts on the social networking site were closed down after they were found to have had regular updates posted on them – a direct breach of prison service rules.

The response from the Prison Service said: “The National Offender Management Service’s Offender Safety, Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) Group have investigated and pursued the removal of five or fewer Facebook accounts which have had regular updates posted under an HMP Wakefield prisoner’s name/names.”

Prison Service rules say inmates are not allowed to access or contribute to any social networking site while in custody or on temporary release.

But national policy also says: “Some prisoners have managed to gain unauthorised access to social networking sites to update their profiles. This has been done by using illicit mobile phones, via a third party- e.g a letter to a friend is posted on their Facebook profile, or by accessing the internet while on release on temporary licence.”

Although the Prison Service said it was impossible to determine for certain if the accounts were being directly updated by prisoners at Wakefield, investigations found enough evidence to refer the matter to the OSRR.

Concerns about social media sites are referred to OSRR when “there are risks to victims or witnesses.” Searches for devices used to access Facebook were unsuccessful, meaning no prisoners could be subjected to disciplinary action.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Prisoners have no access to the internet and are barred from updating social media while serving their sentence.”

Those serving time at the prison include child killers Levi Bellfield and Roy Whiting as well as serial killer Robert Maudlsey.

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