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07/26/2013

Jailhouse rocks: prisoners in India go live on Facebook

This is, quite possibly, the funniest thing you will read this week: prisoners in India are on Facebook, and other social networking websites, and they regularly chat with outsiders, even give an insight into their life in prison.

According to a story in Indian newspaper Business Standard, young prisoners in Punjab, a province in northern India, have smuggled smartphones into prison and are well-connected with the outside world via Facebook chats and by uploading photographs.

Facebook-savvy prisoners, says the report, are lodged in many prisons in Punjab.

Here is one conversation between a prisoner and someone outside.

“When are you coming out brother,” is the question posed on the wall of a prisoner’s Facebook account.

"Brother, have you got bail or not,” asks another post, to which the prisoner replies: No brother, we are inside in Patiala (jail).”

The reporter who wrote the story said prisoners were uploading photographs from inside the prison; some were of those of other prisoners.

Of course, when prison officials were asked, they had no clue to what was happening on their own turf.

One top official of a prison was quoted as saying that there were over 4,000 prisoners in that one prison. “It is difficult to monitor and stop all this activity,” he told the reporter.

Raveena Aulakh is the Toronto Star's environment reporter. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term, and wildlife. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh

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