Seven inmates given combined total of 20 YEARS in solitary confinement after making rap music video from their cells chanting ‘I’m on fire’

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Seven prisoners have been ordered to spend a combined total of nearly 20 years in solitary confinement after creating a rap music video and posting it on the video blog WorldStar.

The male inmates, who are serving time for crimes such as voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery in South Carolina, filmed the six-minute footage on a cell phone behind bars last year.

The video – which sees the men beatbox, jump up and chant, ‘I’m on fire, I’m on fire’ inside a cell at the Kershaw Correctional Institution – was later uploaded to WorldStarHipHop, where it went viral.

Now, the inmates have been sentenced to an average of a 1,000 days each in solitary confinement, according to public documents obtained by investigative researcher Dave Maass.

They have also seen privileges taken away, including visitation hours.

In addition to the rap video – which was viewed more than a million times online – the men were punished for producing ‘security threat group’ materials, according to BuzzFeed News.

They were also sentenced for possessing the phone, which was considered contraband.

In the footage, the men can be seen dancing, waving their arms and performing ‘gang’ signs.

The take turns to rap inside the small, bare cell, while donning white shirts and do-rags.

Maass, who works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told BuzzFeed: ‘When the video went viral the first time, viewers caught a fleeting glimpse of the creative energy that exists behind bars.

‘Now that we know how dearly each inmate paid for their participation, the video takes on all new significance. People in this country are still sacrificing their freedom and well-being for expression.’

He added that the rap music video ‘was a work of art, not an act of violence’.

However, prison officials said the inmates were guilty of creating or assisting with a social network – as well as possessing contraband – something that can be used to deadly effect by prisoners.

The public documents state that ‘video from www.worldstarhiphop.com’ was used as evidence in an investigation into the footage, which was taken at the medium-security prison on March 18, 2014.

South Carolina is known for ordering inmates to spend time in solitary confinement, says the EFF.

Earlier this year, as many as 400 prisoners at Kershaw Correctional Institution were handed the punishment for using Facebook – or for asking a friend to update their profile for them, it found.

And in October 2013, one prisoner, Tyheem Henry, was sentenced to more than 37 years in disciplinary detention – as well as numerous lost privileges – for 38 posts on the social network.

The state’s harsh policy toward the use of social media is taking up space in prisons, Maass said.

On its website in February, the EFF wrote: ‘In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking.’

It adds: ‘So extreme is the application of this policy that SCDC is forced to regularly suspend solitary confinement sentences because of a lack of space in disciplinary segregation.

‘In many cases, the punishments associated with using social media are so unnecessarily long that inmates will never actually serve them since they exceed their underlying prison sentences.’

 A South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesman told BuzzFeed the punishment for the seven inmates who created the rap video had been reviewed – and was found to fit their crime.

She said the men were ‘gang members’ and therefore, ‘a continued threat to safety’.

Source: The DailyMail

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