No one came between Jose Ariel Rivera, 31, and posting live videos on Facebook while he brandished an improvised knife on August 4. There is a problem, however, with Rivera accessing his social media account. He is incarcerated at Evans Correctional Institution, Bennettsville, SC. His behavior was unchecked while he created and posted a video that was over three minutes long.

During the profanity-laced video, another inmate joined Rivera, who expressed threats while live on Facebook. Not even one corrections officer was in sight or near the inmate, who was incarcerated for burglary following his conviction in 2014.

Inmate communicated to his ‘baby momma’ and threatened man

He walked the halls of the prison, communicated with his Facebook contacts, and professed love for a woman he referenced as his “baby momma,” according to WISTV.

His stroll through the prison included a display of the water fountain at the prison.

Rivera posted another video during which he addressed a man, who it appeared has been communicating with his “baby momma,” WISTV also reported. He issued threats toward that man while he wielded his knife.

Sommer Sharpe is the public information officer for the South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC). Sharpe said the incident is being investigated by the state’s DOC.

Recurrent loss of privileges no deterrent to committing prison social network violation

In March, Rivera was disciplined for attempting to possess or actually possessing a cell phone that was used to either create or help other inmates with social networking. The consequences of his conduct led to losing visitation, canteen, and television privileges for six months.

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Again in April, he was reprimanded for another social network violation. Once more, he lost privileges for six months.

Rivera’s Facebook timeline revealed that he updated his profile photo July 5. He also posted to his account on July 22, July 27, and August 8.

Corrections officials have urged the federal government to permit prisons to jam cell phone signals to thwart inmates from using technology that has been designated as contraband. Jimmy Causey escaped from Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, SC, on July 4, utilizing a cell phone and a drone.

FCC stands in prisons’ path to jamming cell phone signals

Senator Brad Hutto serves on the state’s Corrections and Penology committee that investigates DOC issues. WISTV showed the Senator Rivera’s Facebook videos. He said it is ridiculous that inmates can access social media by using cell phones. He attributed the inability to control incidents that occur in prisons to staffing and financial constraints. Hutto also emphasized that victims should not have to endure inmates exploiting social media to communicate their messages.

Sharpe released a statement after the videos were brought to the DOC’s attention. The state’s DOC pointed out that cell phones are contraband not only in South Carolina’s corrections facilities but also within prisons nationwide. Sharpe stated that the videos are a prime example of why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should permit prisons to block cell phone signals.

Mark Keel, director of South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), said it is senseless that the FCC still prohibits blocking the signals which are hindering corrections officials.