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The Real

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Day-time talk show, The Real hosts are constantly under fire for their controversial opinions on a variation of topics discussed on the show. Today, Twitter users are puzzled by statements from the hosts on the latest discussion topic about the rise of inmates on social media.

The increase of inmates use of social media is at an all-time high. There are a number of videos from TikTok and other social media platforms where inmates are seen free styling or making dance videos for the world’s entertainment. The videos from prisoners across the country are making expansive waves online reaching viral impressions.

The Real hosts posed the question of whether or not justice is being served if prisoners are allowed to entertain millions behind bars.

Some people argue that cell phones are considered contraband in prison and that the inmates should not be allowed to use them. Policy makers argue the policy prevents crimes from being orchestrated through prison walls. Though their motivations might be rooted in protecting the public while also hiding horrendous prison conditions from them. Other believe the use of phones to upload on social media helps combat the stereotypes associated with incarceration.

The hosts of the popular day-time show talk legalities and even argue that social media is the way humans connect so taking away that privilege is unjust.

“We don’t take away their mail,” one of the hosts responds.

Prisoners are given phone privileges and time to watch television shows like The Real to remain connected to the outside world.

“The prisoners be watching us. They send me letters,” The Real host Loni Love adds.

Loni also mentions that prisoners are often using social media to finance their books.

“They’ put their cash apps on their account and people are sending them money. I don’t think it’s right. You’re in prisoner a reason. You ain’t in prison to be partying, making dance videos.”

Many of these prisoners have millions of followers and The Real hosts argue it is sending the wrong message to young viewers who are watching.

The Real host Adrienne Bailon adds, “I would have such an issue if I see someone who did something to one of my family members and they are getting money for being on TikTok.”

Bailon argues that it depends on the crime.  Violent crimes like assault versus petty crimes like intent to sell marijuana are vastly different in her eyes.

She adds, “To see you doing a song or dance on TikTok, that would piss me off.”

Rest assured not all of the TikToks aim to entertain. Some popular TikToks highlight the less-than-appetizing prison food served and displeasing living conditions these inmates are subjected to. Many of the videos showcase how innovative prisoners are transforming everyday objects to make the most of them. They posts videos cooking their food with bed frames turned into hot plates or lighting fixtures wired up to boil hot water.

Though The Real hosts and a number of other media outlets have started to blow up the spot, there were already consequences in place for inmates who use cellular devices. The punishment for getting caught with a phone ranges from having visitation rights taken away to time in solitary confinement. Some prisoners even risk getting years added onto their sentences.

These videos are one of the rare occasions the public can see the everyday life of a prisoner. According to Vice, the need for connection far exceeds the risks taken, according to Bianca Tylek, the founder and executive director of Worth Rises, a national criminal justice advocacy organization.

The real question is what is the true harm of these inmates finding some enjoyment in the midst of hardship and the most uncomfortable living arrangements? Share your thoughts on the use of social media in prisons.