Oct 082015
 

When I watched the documentary “Shadows of Doubt” and got in touch with Vincent Simmons in 2003, I would have been grateful for something like a book that analyzed his case and its background in detail. There was nothing like that. Instead, I had to run after the information I was seeking for the years to come. It was damn hard work! Now, there is such a book. If people chose to become strong activists and push the cause, they could easily do so within a week. I needed 7 years for accumulating everything and it cost me more than the book’s price of 20 $. Simmons’ supporters now only need a day or two to read the book, and theoretically, they could start from there. As we say in German: One does not have to reinvent the wheel again and again. Use the information, knowledge and experience others have gained already and go from there! But the reality looks very, very different.

I have just been notified by Facebook, because my name was marked in a FB message. I glanced over the very long “sermon” about Vincent Simmons’ case and I am very, very disappointed. Honestly, I do not understand why it is so full of disinformation although all the facts have been out there in the public in form of the book “Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons: Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish” since 2011. The book has handed out everything on a platter, including the sources. What else is needed to understand?!

But instead of doing their own research and correcting all the rumors buzzing around on the internet, wanna-be supporters (pardon me!) continue to spread untruths. The author of that certain FB message even states that Keith Laborde (the cousin of Simmons’ alleged rape victims) died in 2010! Gosh, double-check the facts before you write something like that!! Being declared dead in the lifetime is not funny. And it is very embarrassing to the creator(s) of the gossip once the truth comes out. Keith, by the way, has been the proud father of a little baby-boy (?) since last year. (I believe it is a boy.)

There are lots of Labordes, and you better do know what you are talking about, if you really want to help Simmons! Inaccuracies, rumors, or even lies are own goals and do not serve his cause. Indeed, they do undermine what others have been working for so hard. It is all about credibility. Alleged supporters who are spreading nonsense are not of any help to the cause at all. They rather satisfy the state, i.e. the party that keeps Simmons in prison at all costs.

Related:
Vincent Simmons is begging his supporters

 

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Jun 122012
 

Communicating through the internet, i.e. emails, with federal prisoners in the USA has been possible for 6 years. Now, a privately held South Florida for-profit-company by the name of JPay Inc. makes this faster and (not for free but) cheaper correspondence also available to state prisoners in more than 30 states.

Even Louisiana’s Department of Public Safety and Corrections has opened up to the cyberspace and its advantages for some months. “JPay Inc. provides cost free technology solutions to our nation’s prisons and jails,” according to its profile on a social network. In other words: it is “cost free” to the taxpayer because only those who make use of JPay’s service do pay the fees.

Depending on the state and facility, the offered service varies. Theoretically, a JPay customer can send money and emails to an inmate, attach photos or a 30-second videogram, chat using a video visitation, and buy phone time. Louisiana allows emails with attachments and money sending via the internet.

Prisoners now also have more often the option to submit their pro se motions to the courts electronically instead of through the US Mail. In Louisiana, authorities expect the Prisoner Electronic Filing Project to save the taxpayers US$ 50,000 a year. A new computer program connects the clerk’s office of the federal court in Baton Rouge with the Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP). Around 35% of all civil suits filed in the nine-parish Middle District of Louisiana are from LSP-inmates.

Be aware that there are laws that criminalize the use of social networks by prisoners and people released on parole! Anyone can easily and anonymously report a convicted offender who violates this law. However, many prisoners are permitted to make use of services as JPay, Access Corrections, Corrlinks, or the like.

Related story:
The Hidden Cost of JPay’s Prison Email Service
May 5, 2015
By Dave Maass
“JPay […] is charging inmates and their families an unusual fee to stay in touch: the intellectual property rights to everything sent through its network.”
www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/05/hidden-cost-jpays-prison-email-system

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Jul 012011
 

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has signed Senate Bill 182 (Act 312) by Senators Francis C. Thompson and A. G. Crowe. It is effective August 15, 2011, and prohibits any offender sentenced to the legal custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections to establish an account on any Internet-based social networking website.

R.S. 14:405 reads:

 

§405. Unlawful establishment of accounts on Internet-based social networking websites by inmates

 

A. It shall be unlawful for any offender who is incarcerated and who is sentenced to the legal custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to establish or maintain an account on any Internet-based, social networking website.

 

B. “Social networking website” means an Internet-based website that has any of the following capabilities:

 

(1) Allows users to create web pages or profiles about themselves that are available to the general public or to any other users.

 

(2) Offers a mechanism for communication among users, such as a forum, chat room, electronic mail, or instant messaging.

 

C. Whoever violates any of the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

 

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