While we usually think of prisons as places where inmates are cut off from society, at least one person may have figured out how to use Instagram from his jail cell.
FOX45 Baltimore reports that someone named Michael Earl Thomas has been posting photos from Baltimore City Detention Center via a public Instagram account, using the hashtag #livefromthecell. Last month, he was charged with armed robbery, assault and a fourth-degree sex offense, the TV station reports.
Here’s a shot of nine men crammed into what appears to be a cell, captioned with explicit text.
Authorities told FOX45 there is a prisoner with that name, but they can’t verify that Thomas is the one posting the Instagram photos.
While this may be the first we’ve heard of someone using the photo service from a U.S. jail, inmates have found ways to tweet from jail, at least indirectly. The Daily Dot recently reported that Andrew Auernheimer, who is imprisoned at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center for computer fraud and identity theft charges, used a prison-approved system that lets inmates email outside contacts to publish tweets as recently as last month. (He was later put in solitary confinement for the offense.) And Jodi Arias, who was convicted of the first-degree murder of her lover Travis Alexander in early May, has maintained an active twitter account from behind bars thanks to a friend who posts the tweets for her.
In some cases, jails even approve of their inmates tweeting. For example, San Quentin prisoners write tweets for @TLM, which stands for The Last Mile, a program designed to teach inmates marketable skills that will help them land employment when they leave.