BAD BEHAVIOR: Access to social media worries community, elected officials

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. - It appears inmates in the Marshall County jail can still communicate to the outside world via social media. WHNT News 19's talked about our taking action investigation into the Marshall County Sheriff's Office for more than a week now.

Inmates aren't supposed to have cell phones. The Marshall County Sheriff's Office confirmed this contraband ended up in the county jail last week. District Attorney Everette Johnson said cell phones in lock-up is a dangerous combination.

"I think you have to be concerned that they can communicate freely to anyone on the outside that they want to," Johnson said. "That's the easiest way to arrange to get contraband into the jail."

Our Taking Action investigation exposed obvious issues of cell phone use inside the jail. The sheriff's office fired five jailers over the past week for giving inmates cellphones. That's obviously not stopping them from getting on Facebook.

But, some people say inmates have internet access via computers located inside the jail. We reached out to the sheriff's office spokesperson for clarification once again, but no reply.

A Marshall County resident sent WHNT News 19 screenshots from an inmate's Facebook profile on Wednesday Morning. The inmate's name is Yinessa Banks but goes by Barksdale David on Facebook.

Banks apparently updated his status on Sunday, his profile picture on Monday and posted a picture of the suspect in the Guntersville murders on Tuesday, suggesting more fighting is taking place inside the jail.

The post says in part, "got his *** beat as soon as he came through the door." We know Jimmy Spencer was booked into the Marshall County jail on Tuesday on four counts of capital murder.

Access to Facebook means people have access to Facebook Messenger, which gives inmates access to the outside world.

"They can fill them in on whatever they need, who can get it to them, who they need to contact that would get it into them," Johnson explained. "They can explore any weak link in the chain."

Johnson said one of his overall concerns is keeping inmates and residents separate.

"They all have contacts on the outside of the jail that they can notify about what's going on inside of the jail," Johnson said.

WHNT News 19 also confirmed with the circuit clerk's office that twenty total promoting prison contraband cases were filed in Marshall County from April 1 through July 17, 2018. Of those cases, 11 are misdemeanors and nine are felonies.

The Marshall County Commission Administrator confirms the sheriff's office hired a new jailer who started on Tuesday. Two more jailers are in the process of pre-hire drug tests before the can begin working. The sheriff's office is also interviewing for two additional spots now.

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