11/07/14 Prisoners like Little Pebble get social network: POLL

Convicted sexual offender and cult leader William Kamm, also known as Little Pebble, is among prisoners using a new social networking site.

Users are posting potentially sensitive information, protesting their innocence and even looking for love on the outside.

The world-first website, iexpress.org.au, has been established by prisoner advocacy group Justice Action to help inmates’ rehabilitation by providing a platform for self-expression and aspiration.

Prisoners can ask Justice Action to upload any images and words to their profile and set up a personal email address for contact with the public.

Justice Action co-ordinator Brett Collins believes the publicly-accessible website is a “game-changer” that will “explode” with popularity.

Including Kamm and Sydney murderer John Meyn, two dozen inmates have already set up pages.

Kamm, who was jailed in 2005 for rape, reveals that he spends his days cooking meals for lactose- and gluten-intolerant prisoners and doing painting and ceramics.

He writes about helping other inmates to get parole and describes the legal system as being unjust.

Kamm also writes: “Over the years I have fought to clear my name through the appeals process, and still am doing this.”

One inmate, Wagga Wagga murderer Shane Symss, used his profile to allege slave labour-type conditions in prison and assaults by correctional officers.

Others have used it to ask for forgiveness, upload poetry and artworks, seek correspondence with women or share mundane details of life on the inside.

Victims rights campaigner Ken Marslew was consulted on the project and said he supports the concept but had reservations about its potential to be abused by prisoners.

“We need to help an offender to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society and part of that is building up their self-esteem,” he said. “But they shouldn’t be able to taunt their victims.”


From South Coast Register July 11, 2014

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