A rap video that was filmed in prison and made it to WorldStarHipHop.com landed seven South Carolina inmates in trouble, netting them a combined total of 20 years in solitary confinement.
According to BuzzFeed, Dave Maass, an investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, obtained the records that were revealed during an investigation of the rap video, along with records of the punishment.
After the video was posted online, the seven inmates who were involved were investigated by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC). After the investigation, five inmates were punished with 180 days in “disciplinary detention.”
Two were given punishments of 270 and 360 days, for “creating or assisting with a social media site.”
However, the inmates were given additional punishments for being a “security threat group” (gang-related) materials, as well as possession of a contraband cell phone. Combined, the inmates were all sentenced to 7150 days, or 19.75 years, in solitary confinement.
“When the video went viral the first time, viewers caught a fleeting glimpse of the creative energy that exists behind bars,” Maass told BuzzFeed News. “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.”
The SCDC, however, feels the punishment is justified.
“Their placement is not just tied to that rap video,”spokesperson for the SCDC Stephanie Givens told BuzzFeed News. “It’s the fact that they are gang members and a continued threat to safety.”