Right now, there are 28 profiles on “Live From Lockdown,” a site devised as somewhat of a Facebook for felons.
There you can find what you’d normally find on a Facebook profile: a photo, date of birth, location.
But that’s where the similarities between this small community and the most massive social network end.
BuzzFeed, in a long read written by news reporter Joe Bernstein, goes behind the scenes of this unlikely platform for some of the most unlikely candidates.
The premise behind Live From Lockdown is to give a voice to “gang leaders and other influential inmates who are known personally by the community,” according to its About page.
These inmates are often glamorized and idolized by the community’s youth, who are unaware of the harsh reality of life behind bars. Giving the inmates an opportunity to share their stories ensures that the message is delivered to the youth who need to hear these voices the most.
In Bernstein’s piece about Live From Lockdown he notes,
“Network” is something of a misnomer — federal prisoners have no direct internet access and so the “users” can’t interact directly with each other — and the site’s founder, Kamaal Bennett, calls it a “platform for social engagement.” But in its structure, its aesthetics, and its dissemination, Live From Lockdown looks and feels like any fledgling social network.
Here’s a look at a profile:
Underneath each profile are blog posts, messages that the inmates write to the community that’s following along with their stories.