Convicted murderer posts pictures of himself on Facebook from prison
A convicted murderer has posted photographs of himself flexing his muscles in his cell in Bostadel prison near Menzingen on the internet. Furthermore, as a caption to the photographs, he wrote, "Currently at the Bar-View holiday-camp hotel". Now the incident is being investigated.
It was the popular Swiss tabloid newspaper "Blick" which published news of the prisoner posting photographs of himself on Facebook from his prison cell with his cheeky captions. Access to the internet is forbidden for prisoners.
In an interview with a journalist of the Neue Zuger Zeitung, the head of the Zug government, Beat Villiger, who is also responsible for security in the canton, expressed his displeasure with Blick's headlines. "Such statements as this (about life in prison) are very offensive, not least to the relatives of the victim." (The prisoner in question, 24-year-old Kosovan Behar S., was sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment 2 years ago after stabbing a doorman in Grenchen to death.)
"The prisoner's statement is not at all a true picture of life at Bostadel," said Villiger. "For a start, all prisoners have to work. We have several production workshops and, what is more, they are operating at a profit. I can well imagine that, for someone coming from Kosovo, our prisons seem much more comfortable than ones there."
When asked how prisoners in a high security prison such as Bostadel should be treated, Villiger replied, "We cannot just feed them on bread and water. We have standards we must adhere to, for example about cell size, exercise and keeping the inmates occupied. Of course they are allowed visitors and to maintain relationships with people outside."
"Does this mean their being able to use the internet?" interjected the journalist.
"No, this is totally forbidden. Neither are they allowed mobile telephones. We are looking into how the prisoner managed to upload these pictures on Facebook. However, he did have a laptop, though this has now been confiscated for 6 months."
Villiger rejected any notion that security measures failed as all inward and outward post and packages are scanned and checked. Furthermore all visitors are checked with metal detectors. However, we do not find everything. Women visitors have been known to smuggle things in body cavities and items have even been hidden in the anus. However, we are continually introducing new technology such as devices which can detect switched-on mobile telephones. Surveillance cameras in the cells themselves are not allowed, but these are searched on a regular basis. We have even looked into using jammers, though these can cost up to CHF 300,000."
As to what punishment will be meted out on Behar S. following this incident, Villiger said such behaviour would not be tolerated. "The governor of the prison told me about the photographs on Friday. He will be fined CHF 50 for using a mobile telephone and this has since been confiscated. If he reoffends in this way he will be fined CHF 100 and kept in his cell for three days. In fact he was kept in his cell over the weekend."
As to where prisoners got money from, Villiger explained that they were paid CHF 30.00 per day for their work. With this, they can, for example, rent a TV for CHF 20 per month; or money is used to pay for any damage they cause.
"Is it not a fact that prison life is just too soft these days?" asked the journalist.
"I would not say so," replied Villiger. "There are far fewer times when prisoners are allowed out on leave and from next year no prisoners will be allowed to work outside the prison. Furthermore, we have overcrowded prisons, due in part to the fact that are fewer conditional sentences imposed these days."