SC corrections dept. identifies inmates in rap video posted online

Published: Mar. 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2014 at 6:59 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Officials with the South Carolina Department of Corrections say they have identified several inmates involved in a rap video that was posted on the Internet.

The video posted on shows several men in SCDC uniforms rapping "I'm On" inside what appears to be a prison cell. The nearly six-minute video is titled "South Carolina Inmates Film 1st Ever Music Video in Prison!"

South Carolina Department of Corrections Spokesperson Stephanie Gibson tells WIS officials have identified some of the inmates involved in the video and they are working to identify all of them.

Inmates in custody of SCDC are prohibited from having cell phones and are denied access to the Internet.

After the video surfaced online, SCDC increased security at its facilities this week. Director of
Corrections Bryan Stirling put officers back in the guard shacks as one step to increase safety and slow the flow of contraband into the prisons.

"We're also using cameras" Stirling said. "We're going to purchase some thermal imaging cameras. Governor Haley in last year's budget gave us some money for some towers outside of Lee Correctional Institute and that will help also."

And the department is starting to use portable metal detectors that can scan people and items being brought into the prisons for anything hidden inside.

But contraband has always plagued prisons and cell phones are just one of the latest problems. A smuggled phone appears to have been used to shoot the video of inmates at the Kershaw Correctional Institution performing a rap song. The prison is a medium security facility in Kershaw.

"I think it sends a signal that we need to be more vigilant in our looking for contraband and that's one of my priorities as the new director, to be more vigilant with contraband," Stirling said.

Eight inmates involved with the video have been identified and they will be disciplined.

Stirling said accomplices have sneaky ways to move, throw and even shoot phones, drugs and other illegal items into even the most secure prisons.

"If you asked any department of corrections director from across the country, they would tell you that they are under a 24-hour a day, seven-day a week barrage of people trying to get contraband into correctional facilities because there is money to be made when you can do that," he said.

The corrections department is trying to have the web site pull the video but it might be too late now that it's had time to be spread around.

Back in 2008, former corrections director Jon Ozmint tried an experiment with a cell phone jamming system but ran into opposition from the FCC. Stirling is exploring a technology called managed access, which would allow only certain cell phones to operate while blocking others.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.