Seven South Carolina prison inmates are facing a combined sentence of 20 years in solitary confinement for a viral rap video they filmed in 2014 while locked up in a cell, the New York Daily News reported, adding that the video was viewed more than a million times on World Star Hip Hop, and features the seven inmates rapping and beatboxing inside a cell.
The viral video stunt was met with tough repercussions since the inmates gave gang signs in the video, had a cellphone and accessed social media to post the clip, prison documents showed, the Daily News reported before stating that records showed that investigators specifically used the World Star Hip Hop video as evidence during the sentencing.
Dave Maass, an investigative researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), told the Daily News that prison officials probably dealt this heavy sentencing because they were "embarrassed" by the viral clip, but what the prison should be ashamed of its punishment.
"It's embarrassing for them that it happened, because it makes them look like they have no control, but on the whole, South Carolina becomes the poster child for abuse of solitary confinement," Maass was quoted by the Daily News.
In February, the same prison sent up to 400 inmates to solitary confinement for using Facebook, the EFF found, according to the Daily News, which added that for South Carolina's corrections department, using social media while locked up is on the same level of offense as attacking a guard, rioting and taking a hostage is.
A South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson toldBuzzfeedthe punishment did fit the crime, and the inmates were serving time for armed robbery, burglary and voluntary manslaughter.