Prison ‘inmate influencers’ rack up millions of views showing off their cushy lives in TikTok videos as they smuggle in iPhones and drugs and dub their jails ‘HMP Butlins’
- Prisoners have shared footage of parties and drug taking from inside jails
Prisoners locked up in UK jails have been earning money from TikTok videos filmed on smuggled phones that appear to show them using drugs, partying and cooking food.
The new trend shows inmates going about their daily lives in prison and raises serious questions about how banned items and drugs are being smuggled into facilities – which some inmates have labelled ‘HMP Butlins.’
Multiple videos circulating on the social media platform show prisoners cooking in their cells and using drugs including cannabis and spice.
In one video, an inmate proudly shows off his collection of iPhones in his cell and captions it: ‘You ain’t mashing like us.’
Another inmate posted a video of a small Zanco phone, which is around one sixth the size of an iPhone with the tag: ‘HMP Fix It.’
Prisoners have shared videos of them bragging about using contraband phones in their cells
Many have shared pictures of tiny Zanco phones which can be squirreled away from authorities
Others claim they have managed to get multiple smartphones behind bars and are able to access the internet
The Zanco phones, which retail for roughly £20, have long been preferred by inmates as they are so small they can be hidden easily.
Other videos show inmates in various states of drunken or drug addled disarray in their cells and communal areas.
In one video, an inmate is filmed under the influence of spice – known as the ‘zombie drug’ due to its debilitating effects.
One inmate can be heard to be saying: ‘This is why you don’t do drugs. The spice has got him man.’
Other videos show inmates having parties in their cells and drinking and rolling cannabis joints.
In many videos the ease at which prisoners have circumnavigated the rules is mocked by prisoners who describe the facility as ‘HMP Butlins.’
It is illegal to own a mobile phone in prison as inmates can use them to commit further crimes
Other videos show inmates engaging in wild parties while incarcerated
The clip is one of many on the site that show unsupervised inmates appearing to have wild parties
Describing how inmates had gotten around the rules, one ex-con on TikTok alleged there were multiple ways to get anything you want inside the prison including befriending a ‘corrupt screw.’
He said: ‘ You can smuggle one in yourself or get someone you know to bring one in if you know the ways and means which isn’t hard.
‘If you know a corrupt screw and you’re on terms with them like that, anything can be bought at the right price.’
For some inmates putting content out on TikTok, the rewards can potentially be incredibly lucrative.
The Times reports that TikToker Sam Walker gained 24,000 subscribers while serving a sentence for cannabis possession and bragged he was making £1,700 a month from his videos.
Mobile phones are banned from prison as they could be used for criminal activity and to plan escapes.
A spokesman for the Prison Service said: ‘We do not tolerate mobile phones in prison and those found with them face extra time behind bars.
‘Our £100 million investment in airport-style security has blocked more than 20,000 attempts to smuggle contraband into prisons.’
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