Facebook is working with prison officials to delete accounts that belong to inmates that are found to be updated while they are incarcerated.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the cooperative effort is designed to crackdown on inmates using social networking or cell phones to deliver threats or unwanted sexual advances.
"Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity," CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said in a statement. "This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims."
Inmates are allowed to have accounts if they were created before being imprisoned, but Facebook user policies prohibit the accounts passwords from being shared.
"If a state has decided that prisoners have forfeited their right to use the Internet, the most effective way to prevent access is to ensure prisons have the resources to keep smart phones and other devices out," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement. "We will disable accounts reported to us that are violating relevant U.S. laws or regulations or inmate accounts that are updated by someone on the outside. We will also take appropriate action against anyone who misuses Facebook to threaten or harass."
The CDCR said it was made aware last year that a convicted child molester had sent mail to his 17-year-old victim that included accurate sketches of the girl, even though the offender had been in prison for seven years.
"Details of the victim, such as how she wore her hair and the brand of clothes she wore were accurate. An investigation revealed the inmate had used a cell phone to find and view the MySpace and Facebook web pages of the victim. With access to the pages, the offender was able to obtain current photos, which he used to draw his pictures," the CDCR said.
The CDCR also said it has confiscated 7,284 cell phones smuggled into prisons so far this year.