Pris­on­ers’ Face­book page ex­posed

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

PRIS­ON­ERS claim to have set up a Face­book page us­ing their mo­bile phones so they can post pic­tures from jail.

The page, called Parc Ban­ter, has been put to­gether by four men, who we are not nam­ing for le­gal rea­sons.

It claims to be filled with im­ages of pris­on­ers and seems to show a mo­bile phone be­ing charged by a method us­ing soft drinks.

When our re­porter got in touch with the op­er­a­tors of the Parc Ban­ter page – be­lieved to re­fer to HMP Parc in Brid­gend – he was told: “This is our ban­ter page while in prison.”

They claimed the page had been op­er­at­ing for two weeks and guards didn’t know of its ex­is­tence.

Asked how they had ac­cess to the in­ter­net, Parc Ban­ter ad­mit­ted they were us­ing mo­biles.

The per­son mes­sag­ing said “ev­ery­one” had them in­side be­fore ask­ing: “Are you a po­lice of­fi­cer?”

Our re­porter told them, for the sec­ond time, he was a re­porter.

“You want our names to put in your story?” Parc Ban­ter asked, be­fore pro­ceed­ing to give four names.

“Where are you put­ting this story btw (by the way?)” they asked.

Our in­ves­ti­ga­tor told them it would be ap­pear­ing on WalesOn­line.

“Are you for real?” Parc Ban­ter said.

“We are go­ing to get in to trou­ble.”

A num­ber of large red an­gry face emo­jis were mes­saged, along with one of a smil­ing pig.

They said they would face a “cell spin”.

Pic­tures from the page have also been posted on an­other page called Gloss Brid­gend.

The ad­min­is­tra­tor of that site was keen to raise aware­ness of the sit­u­a­tion.

A spokesman wanted to know “why it’s okay for peo­ple in prison to have a mo­bile phone and be able to log on to so­cial me­dia”, adding: “We have had a lot of pho­tos sent in from Parc Prison, pris­on­ers us­ing mo­bile phones and us­ing Snapchat.

“We would like this to go vi­ral as Parc are not do­ing any­thing.”

He claimed the au­thor­i­ties “don’t seemed to be bothered”.

He said peo­ple in the pic­tures had been iden­ti­fied to him by peo­ple who knew them.

“We have had peo­ple point them out,” he said.

In­mates were get­ting phones from peo­ple “throw­ing them over the wall”, he added.

“They are meant to be in prison at the end of the day,” the spokesman said.

“We would like the po­lice and prison to act on this. “We want the prison to see it.” Mon­mouth MP David Davies was stunned by the pris­on­ers’ au­dac­ity.

“There is clearly a prob­lem with the way the prison is be­ing run if it is that easy to set up a Face­book page,” he said.

“Though if you are man­ag­ing to set them up us­ing the kind of ap­pa­ra­tus that was be­ing used in Colditz you have to ad­mire their in­ge­nu­ity.

“You won­der why they are not able to make a liv­ing in the real world where many peo­ple strug­gle with Face­book and IT with ev­ery­thing that is avail­able in the wider world.

“What a pity they are not able to put those skills to good use out­side.”

Parc Prison di­rec­tor Janet Walls­grove said: “Like pris­ons across the coun­try it is a con­stant chal­lenge to de­tect, in­ter­cept and seize con­tra­band, in­clud­ing mo­bile phones.

“Not only is it a crim­i­nal of­fence to be in pos­ses­sion of a mo­bile phone in­side a prison but they also pose a se­ri­ous risk to the safety and sta­bil­ity of a prison’s regime.

“We work closely with South Wales Po­lice to en­sure that those who break the law are pros­e­cuted.

“The HMPPS dig­i­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tions team is work­ing to get the con­tent re­moved from so­cial me­dia.”

The Min­istry of Jus­tice and South Wales Po­lice de­clined to com­ment.

Un­der the Of­fender Man­age­ment Act 2007 it is an of­fence to have a mo­bile phone in prison.

Pris­on­ers are also banned from us­ing the in­ter­net, ex­cept un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances.

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