Georgia Inmates Report Extortion Cases Via Illegal Cell Phones

Georgia inmates have found a way to reach beyond metal doors and bars, concrete walls and razor wire to victimize those on the outside, family members and prisoners tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Corrections officials have found nothing to support individual claims of extortion, but they concede an ongoing problem with cell phones, which are not allowed in prison, that makes it easy for inmates to continue to prey on others.

Three families of inmates in two state prisons told extortion stories to the newspaper. In each instance, a brutal picture taken with a cellphone and a threat are followed with instructions to pay up. Ricky Myrick, director of the Office of Investigations and Compliance at the Department of Corrections, said there have been 25 to 30 reports of extortion. In some cases, inmates would not cooperate with investigations. In other instances “the only thing we've been able to verify is some of the inmates themselves are willing participants,” Myrick said. “The true catalyst behind our problem still reverts back to the cell phones.”

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