Investigation reveals inmates somehow getting tattoos inside pri - CBS46 News


Investigation reveals inmates somehow getting tattoos inside prison

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CBS46 has been looking into big problems inside Georgia prisons, including inmates with Facebook pages, using social media to order hits and smuggling thousands of cellphones inside.

CBS46 also looked into prisoners getting a hold of real tattoo guns, and nobody seems to be paying attention as they cover their bodies in gang tattoos.

Shawn Mosley, known by the nickname "Juice," said he found pictures in prison while "being nosy" on his mom's Facebook page and re-posted them.

"I was a cute ass lil baby," Mosley said.

His mother saw the post and replied, "The only time you was good."

Mosley has spent nearly his entire adult life in prison. During those years, he has undergone a disturbing, graphic transformation, as evidenced by photos and videos on the Facebook page he's somehow managed to maintain while locked up.

Convicted of aggravated assault and possession of drugs with intent to distribute, Mosley looked normal enough in a booking photo, but today he is the illustrated man tattooed from one end of his body to the other, including tattoos of hundred dollar bills on one side of his head, more bills and the words "paper chaser" on the other side. His chest, shoulders and arms are all inked.

"It may very well be a damning indictment, not only on the way this prison system is being operated today, but a damning indictment on the entire prison system from beginning to end," said Vic Reynolds, who is the district attorney for Cobb County, which is where Mosley was convicted.

At a September meeting of the Board of Corrections, Assistant Commissioner "Buster" Evans reported with pride on educational programs for prisoners. 

"We always like to ask the question, 'Do our programs make a difference?'" Evans said. "Do they help offenders be successful as they return to the community?"

When Mosley returns to the community, will the department's programs help him be successful?

"We feel that some of these groups are at greater risks for recidivism than others," Evans said.

Prison "tats" have always been a way of life behind bars, but, they haven't always been this sophisticated. In cell phone video posted to Facebook, Mosley received a new tattoo across his shoulders, bearing the name of his gang. The tattoo was given by a fellow inmate using what appeared to be a professional tattoo gun.

"I think that it's wrong and we need to do something about it, and the responsibility lies primarily with the people that run that prison system," Reynolds said.

Ricky Myrick is the director of professional standards for the Department of Corrections. He said it's against prison rules to give or receive tattoos while incarcerated, with no ifs, and or buts.

"When they tattoo their heads with dollar signs and hundred dollar bills, that is a state of mind that they're in that they've got to change on their own," Myrick said. "It's contraband and they're not allowed to use it, but they're, of course, very sneaky and find opportunities, due to our staffing, to know when they can get away with things, how long its going to be before an officer makes rounds and so forth."

In a very candid interview with CBS46, Myrick acknowledged the drastic, permanent change in Mosley's physical appearance that has occurred in state custody.

"It should be very obvious to the staff at the facility that he's at," Myrick.

But while corrections officers doubtlessly notice what's going on, they have every reason to be apprehensive when it comes to reporting prisoners for getting tattoos. 

"They've got the financial means and the threats of violence to corrupt our staff," Myrick said.

"It's frustrating," Reynolds said. "It's aggravating, and I think it would offend just about anybody out in the free world who saw it. I don't think that's what they expect out of inmates."

Mosley entered the system he was 16-years-old. Now at 27, prison has changed him and apparently not for the better. In one of his Facebook entries, Mosley posted old photos of his late father and wrote:

"I wonder if my pops [would have] still been alive, would I have been so ruthless?"

Facebook, the internet, cellphones, drugs and gang tattoos are not what most people expect to see in Georgia prisons. We're still hoping to discuss the rampant contraband problem, and other serious issues with the new commissioner of corrections.

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