Officials want changes after report on prisoners using Facebook - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Officials want changes after I-Team report on prisoners using Facebook

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An inmate sits with his collection of snacks in this photo posted to Facebook. An inmate sits with his collection of snacks in this photo posted to Facebook.
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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A state lawmaker says "somebody's head should roll" over an issue the Channel 4 I-Team exposed, showing inmates in Tennessee prisons partying behind bars and flaunting their fun on Facebook.

The Tennessee Department of Correction launched investigations in 14 prisons and disciplined 70 inmates following the investigation by the Channel 4 I-Team.

The state had Facebook shut down those inmates' pages and also confiscated drugs, a deadly weapon and 50 phones.

However, we continue to find other inmates with Facebook pages, displaying their phones inside their prison cells and showing off their stash in photos.

And now we've learned it's not that new. Locked up Tennessee inmates have apparently been accessing Facebook for years.

They apparently wanted to be on Facebook, just not the news.

"Don't be on CNN in the morning," one inmate is heard saying in a video posted to Facebook.

In one case, convicted felon DeJuan Roberts posted a photo of himself after he was "fresh from the gym," and after his buddy Bambino Duncan commented on the post, we found Duncan's page, where he appears to be in a county jail and tells his friend to give him a call sometime - all from behind bars.

West Tennessee District Attorney Mike Dunavant said he is not amused by what the Channel 4 I-Team has uncovered.

"It's disturbing. It's offensive," Dunavant said.

And State Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory, is not pleased either.

"There's no excuse for that, and somebody's head needs to roll over that. Somebody needs to lose their jobs over this. This is so bad. It's so embarrassing," Turner said.

Both officials are now asking for meetings with Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield, who wrote last week to Dunavant that he would love to implement cell phone jamming technology in prisons but the Federal Communications Commission won't allow it.

In perhaps the most interesting part of the letter, Schofield writes that "the state has deactivated hundreds of Facebook accounts in the past three years."

Turner said what the Channel 4 I-Team uncovered is proof the legislature needs to bring back the oversight committee for the Department of Correction, which was disbanded during previous cutbacks.

"I want to know how this happens. How does this happen? There's no excuse. This is one of the most controlled situations out there," Turner said.

We will continue to investigate.

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