Technology has changed our world in countless ways, and cell phones have been a significant part of that process. Cell phones change the way we interact with one another, how we see ourselves in terms of connectedness with others, and even the way that we schedule our lives. The latest news from Georgia suggests that cell phones are even changing the way that inmates in prisons protest their living conditions.
The days when inmates would simply bang a tin cup on the bars of their cell are apparently long gone. Last weekend, inmates at as many as seven prisons in the state of Georgia used cell phones â€“ none of which are legal to have in those prisons â€“ to form a nonviolent strike. The inmates are asking for better living conditions, as well as to be paid for the work that they do while they are in the prisons.
According to reports, cell phones have been commonly smuggled into prisons for several years. In fact, even a high-profile notorious prison inmate like Charles Manson was recently discovered with a cell phone just this month. This is a disturbing trend, to say the least, as officials are concerned that inmates may use cell phones to attempt to coordinate escape attempts.
This particular incident, however, has been building for some time. Different groups and factions within the prison populations have been coordinating for months now to organize this strike. These groups â€“ which very rarely work together and are more likely to be opposed to one another â€“ used cell phones to call and text message others in order to coordinate the strike.
Inmates in those prisons indicated that they would not perform any of the duties normally required of them, including chores or jobs that many have via the industrial department of the Corrections Department. They also protested by not shopping at prison commissaries.
The protesters were asking for specific changes, including getting paid for the work that they do, improved quality of prison food, greater educational opportunities, and even changes to sentencing rules.
According to an interview with an inmate that was conducted via cell phone, this kind of networking among prisoners is becoming commonplace. Most of the prisons involved have one or two key individuals who serve as contact points who then keep the rest of the inmates at that particular prison up to speed with whatâ€™s being planned.