According to the South Carolina Department of Corrections, tablets are issued to every inmate on the condition that they do not lose this privilege. The prisoners keep them in their cells.
McCormick, South Carolina. Convicted murderer Alex Murdo is serving a double life sentence at McCormick Correctional Facility. The disgraced lawyer was convicted of murder in March this year for the shootings of his wife Maggie and son Paul. A few hours ago, photos began to circulate online showing Murdo taking a selfie in prison.
The images have sparked a lot of conversation on the internet, with people wondering where these photos came from. Is it smuggling? It is legal? Is it really Murdo?
News 19 searched for answers and found that yes, it is completely legal. In fact, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) tells us that this is a service provided to all inmates.
Murdo’s photos were released after a request was made under the Freedom of Information Act, which gives the public the right to request access to federal agency records. The SCDC tells News 19 that each inmate is given a tablet that they can use to make phone calls, attend classes, read books, subscribe to pre-approved entertainment, and receive messages from the facility. The department says they are not connected to the Internet or social media.
These tablets are owned by ViaPath Technologies, the division’s phone partner, formerly GTL. It serves more than 2,100 institutions and more than 1.6 million inmates in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the company.
The company says its products have been used in 32 State Department of Corrections facilities, including in South Carolina. Since the company was founded in October 2021, it is estimated that prisoners have accessed nearly 5 million hours of e-learning.
It was first introduced in South Carolina in January 2019. The SCDC states that the tablets were “particularly valuable during the COVID shutdown when programming was put on hold due to the pandemic. Prisoners could still use their tablets for educational activities, reading, pre-approved entertainment, etc.”
In the photographs, Murdo can be seen in a variety of places, including in his cell. News 19 asked SCDC about this.
The agency says tablets are assigned to prisoners and kept in their individual cells, allowing them to make private phone calls to families, read and otherwise use features.
When a prisoner checks in on the tablet, “… the service used the prisoner’s face as identification. As part of this process, a photograph of the prisoner was taken,” the SCDC explained.
This means that, according to SCDC, Murdo didn’t take those shots, but instead they were taken automatically when he used it.
SCDC tells News 19 that all content on tablets is monitored. Misbehaving inmates may lose device privileges funded by subscription plans purchased by inmate friends or family.
We have contacted Murdo’s legal department but have not received a response as of this writing.