Inmates are now resorting to Yelp to voice their complaints about prisons and jails. Although prisons and jails have usually an administrative process for filing complaints, it is well known by savvy inmates that you risk an unofficial retaliation from the correctional officers. The retaliation can range from a minor response to a major reaction. Inmates have used Yelp to make public what prison is like at their institution. The following excerpt describes this ingenious use of the internet for public discussion of prison life.
By Daniel Easterman – The Telegraph
From advice on how to get double food rations to allegations of abuse by correctional officers, the web-based service fills a new niche with American prison reviews.
Yelp is intended to allow people to write and rate local businesses such as restaurants, bars and shops.
Inmates claim that they have turned to Yelp as a way of airing grievances which could be dangerous to voice directly to the prison authorities. It is alleged that complaints made by prisoners in formal administrative hearings can often result in unsanctioned retribution by officers.
One former prisoner, identifying herself only as “Judith H.” wrote under a posting for the “Sing Sing” correctional facility in New York: “It is hell on earth. The people that work there are the most unprofessional staff in the world and the rudest. I wouldn’t even let them tend my animals much less human beings.”