Prisoners' Facebook Pages Removed After Taunting Victims From Jail

Thirty prisoners in Britain have had their Facebook pages taken down after they used them to taunt victims and communicate with associates on the outside.

Colin Gunn, a double murder plotter serving time in a maximum security jail, posted threats to his rivals, it was revealed this month.

Gunn claims that he was allowed to blog from jail, although the Ministry of Justice insisted that inmates were denied access to social networking sites.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said he approached Facebook three weeks ago to address the issue and requested the pages be removed within 48 hours.

“We’ve made requests for the removal of 30 sites and they’ve responded to do that positively, with no single refusal, within 48 hours, so we just want to push this forward,” Straw told the BBC.

The government would be looking at other measures to prevent inmates from accessing web pages and abusing their victims, he added.

“We’re looking at other ways in which we can raise the stakes against prisoners who seek to use these sites. It’s unlawful, it’s against prison rules, which is the law,” he said.

The action followed a meeting last night between families of murder victims, Facebook and Straw.

Barry Mizen, whose son Jimmy was murdered by Jake Fahri in May 2008, said that the talks were encouraging.

He added that he wanted Facebook to be more responsible. “I’m sure Facebook is a massive organization and there’s lots of money floating around,” he said.

“If you have to spend a bit more on monitoring, then you have just got to do it.”

MStraw said that officials were considering a change in parole rules and the rules for prisoners released on temporary licence, “to make it explicit that even if they’re outside prison, but if they are on licence, they can’t make use of sites in this way.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We will not hesitate to refer to the police any published material that appears to cause harassment, alarm or distress."

Click here to read more on this story from The Times of London.