Contraband cellphones have given us jail TikTok

A finger hovers over the screen of a phone displaying the TikTok app. People who find themselves incarcerated are turning to TikTok to precise themselves and present what residing situations are like inside jail. | Sajjad Hussain/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Cellphone movies filmed inside prisons are giving TikTok customers a glimpse into incarceration within the US.

When Adnan Khan was despatched to jail in 2003 on the age of 18, texting wasn’t all that standard. However by the point he was launched from jail in January 2019, texting was the norm and social media was in every single place — even behind bars.

“I’ve seen the movies. I feel they’re hilarious,” Khan, the chief director of Re:Retailer Justice, mentioned on a latest episode of the Reset podcast.

What Khan is referring to is “jail TikTok,” a hashtag that lets TikTok customers view movies shared on the app by people who find themselves incarcerated. “TikTok is a method, and social media is a method, for incarcerated individuals to point out the world who they are surely and to humanize themselves,” Khan mentioned.

The content material depicted on jail TikTok varies; some movies present horrible residing situations inside US prisons, like overcrowding and flooding, whereas others depict individuals in jail uniforms doing renditions of trending TikTok dances.

However what’s stunning about jail TikTok isn’t that people who find themselves incarcerated recognize nice choreography, similar to anybody else. Fairly, it’s that people in jail have entry to smartphones in any respect.

Cellphones aren’t allowed in American prisons. And people who find themselves discovered with contraband of their possession can get hit with severe penalties.

“You may get charged with a misdemeanor or a felony relying on what jurisdiction you’re in,” mentioned Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a senior analysis analyst on the Sentencing Venture. “And on the very least, you’re going to lose good time credit or hurt your probabilities of parole.”

So why would anybody run the danger of posting on TikTok or calling a member of the family utilizing a contraband cellphone?

For Khan, having a cellphone whereas in jail, even for a short while, was a technique to mend his relationship along with his mom. It allowed him to have actual emotional conversations along with his household with out being monitored by corrections officers and with out having to cope with a 15-minute time restrict or the massive charges that usually include utilizing a jail landline.

“It was via a cellphone the place I began to essentially have these robust conversations of how I felt uncared for by her,” he mentioned. “What the cellphone did for me — and we preserve utilizing the phrase ‘cellphone’ prefer it was the telephone itself — clearly, what I’m actually speaking about is a type of group, constant communication, and a secure area to have that communication.”

To seek out out extra about jail TikTok and the usage of contraband cellphones in jail, hearken to the newest episode of Reset under.

Subscribe to Reset on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you hearken to podcasts.


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