Australian prisoners become social media celebrities by using smuggled phones to gain internet fame behind bars.
The discovery that inmates are using social media inside Australian prisons to share snippets of their prison lives with a young online audience has sparked an investigation by Corrective Services NSW.
Prisoners are not allowed to have or use mobile phones in prisons across Australia, but that hasn’t stopped cons from posting on social media platforms like TikTok.
Videos glorifying violence, crime and prison life find their way into media streams, along with other seemingly harmless rap and dance videos.
Prisoners can face up to two years in prison if they are caught trying to take or carry phones into the prison.
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Drill rapper ‘Snoee Badman’ used a clandestine prison phone and social media to grow an audience for his rap while behind bars
Former wakeboarder Kyle Richardson used a clandestine cellphone to share TikTok dances with the outside world after he was jailed following a car crash that seriously injured his then-18-year-old girlfriend in 2020
Inmate Kyle Richardson, who has described himself as the “Prince of Parklea”, has amassed thousands of followers on TikTok by posting videos of himself dancing on the greens of his prison, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Kyle Richardson made no attempt to hide his identity or his surroundings in his viral videos, with his cell, uniform, tattoos and face clearly visible.
The inmate amassed around 11,000 followers in a short period of time with his videos being viewed on hundreds of thousands of phone screens.
He was also active on other social media accounts while in prison.
His account has now been deleted after Corrective Services NSW confirmed the videos were known.
One of his videos was captioned: “When you see your mates partying pulling 10’s but you’re gone for a while (sic).”
The 21-year-old ‘walked away’ for a high-speed MDMA crash on Sydney’s M1 that seriously injured his then 18-year-old girlfriend in 2020.
Sharing TikTok dances on the green and in a prison cell won Kyle Richardson thousands of followers on social media, but his accounts have now disappeared
In his cell (pictured), Snoee Badman used voice recording apps and TikTok to produce and share his raps
Ex-prisoner and rapper Snoee Badman used a contraband cell phone to record himself rapping inside his prison cell.
One of the drill rapper’s videos, showing him performing in a Long Bay cell, has garnered more than 62,000 views on TikTok.
Another titled ‘Bars Behind Bars’ has 42,000 views.
Speaking on a podcast, the rapper said he had a few phones during his “brick” – a 10-year prison sentence – and used a voice recording app to record an entire rap album.
Dogs and search teams are trained to sniff out cellphones before an inmate enters prison, but many still end up in the hands of inmates.
Smaller phones are often smuggled into prisons in the rectum, a prison source said.
The presence of mobile phones in prisons across Australia is putting law enforcement officers at risk, allowing criminals to communicate and carry out illegal operations behind bars and influencing the country’s youth online.
Corrective Services NSW is testing mobile phone signal jamming at Lithgow and Goulburn Correctional Centers and continues to investigate how best to prevent phones from entering the prison.
“Correctional Services NSW takes a zero-tolerance approach to smuggling and is at the forefront of developing and implementing technologies to combat the extraordinary lengths inmates go to smuggle mobile phones,” a Correctional Services spokeswoman said.
NSW Corrections Minister Tara Moriarty said more prisons were needed to introduce mobile jamming technology.
“It’s ridiculous it hasn’t been extended already,” he told the Saturday Telegraph.
“It’s one thing to make social media videos, but what else are they doing with these phones.”