Convicts Go Viral with Prison TikTok Posts

An inmate uses a mirror to look outside his cell at the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles on May 29, 2004. (Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

According to a recent report, prisoners in the United States are finding success posting to the popular Chinese social media app TikTok detailing their lives inside the U.S. prison system. Prisoners access the app using smartphones smuggled into jail.

Wired reports that prisoners in the United States have begun posting to the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, with many detailing their day to day lives inside the prison. One prisoner, Kevin Smith, saw one of his videos go viral on the platform, it featured Smith explaining how he uses an electrical wire from a light fixture and a metal bucket to heat water.

Smith, who was released from Florida’s South Bay Correctional Facility in April after completing a seven-year sentence for falsely impersonating a law enforcement officer, stated: “I posted the video just to show people the ingenuity of prisoners.” The clip has now been viewed almost a million times on TikTok.

Many communities have appeared across TikTok from Cop TikTok to Doctor TikTok, it’s unsurprising that with covert access to cell phones within U.S. penitentiaries, Prisoner TikTok has also become popular. Inmates have been using contraband cell phones to video each other dancing, performing skits, and broadcasting information about the conditions of their facilities.

In some videos, Prisoners give tours of their cells, showcase their unconventional cooking methods, and explain how they construct makeshift electronics. In one video, inmates describe how they created a makeshift cell phone charger, a clip that has been viewed 10 million times on TikTok.

Samantha Goodman, the wife of Samuel Goodman who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in New York for assault and robbery, has almost 50,000 followers on the platform. “The most important thing to me is just raising awareness about prison families in general,” she said, adding: “I’m not out here screaming that my husband is innocent and needs to be freed; I’m simply asking that he keeps his basic human rights and dignity intact.”

Samatha’s videos poke fun at the challenges of maintaining a relationship when one partner is behind bars. Some of her posts include details of the kinds of food she’s allowed to bring to Samuel while others are video blogs of her visits with her husband. “I feel like it’s important to share things about food or cigarettes because it humanizes them. They’re not just warm bodies with numbers,” Samantha stated.

Read more at Wired here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address


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