Woman In Idaho Prison Goes Viral On TikTok

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Fees vary, but at the South Idaho Correctional Institution, it costs two “stamps” to send or receive a videogram like the one Vanlith sent, with five stamps available for purchase for $2. That may not sound like much, but remember, even incarcerated people who are able to work while behind bars are paid very little.

Jesse Crosson, who served 19 years for robbery and shooting two people and now answers questions about prison life on his TikTok account @second_chancer, has railed against JPay in multiple videos. In one video entitled “Prison Profiteering,” Crosson said he and his family each spent more than $20 a month on JPay email stamps — a huge fraction of the $54 per month he was earning in his prison job. His middle class family could help support him, but not everyone is so lucky. “The problem is someone is profiting off every phone call, every email, and every bar of soap sold, and that is disproportionately affecting those who have the least,” Cronson said.

“[JPay] are just a small piece of the multi-billion dollar prison industrial complex in this country,” Crosson said in another video.

A JPay spokesperson said they could not provide a full statement prior to publication. “We acknowledge the criticism we receive, but please also look at the positive pieces about our tablet program,” spokesperson Jade Trombetta wrote in a brief email, sharing a link to a Yahoo piece about JPay’s parent company, Aventiv Technologies.

Vanlith told the Statesman that she’s received more than 500 new contacts since her videos blew up, but Idaho Department of Correction spokesperson Jeff Ray told the newspaper that people should think twice about becoming a prison pen pal.

“While many pen-pal-type relationships are well-intended,” Ray said, “people who choose to engage in them — including those who are incarcerated — should be wary.”

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/tiktok-sex-offender-prison

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