ST. JOSEPH COUNTY -- At first glance, Roy Kim’s Facebook profile appears rather ordinary, with a steady feed of photos and personal updates.
But in one way it is remarkable: The 21-year-old is serving time in state prison.
He shows off his tattoos, provides news on prison life, communicates with his girlfriend, and promises his friends he will be out soon.
“Just chillin’ doin my time in the joint,” he posted Oct. 9. “Got me a phone … I be playin’ on this (expletive) cuz I ain’t got (expletive) else to do.”
He is serving a sentence for holding a South Bend couple against their will with a shotgun in 2007, records show.
On Jan. 1, he posted four photos, apparently from his cell, grinning beside a prison cot showing off tattoos on his forearms, neck and chest.
Kim’s profile has gone undetected by officials at Westville Correctional Facility, and it is not clear how he is accessing the Internet.
But he could be doing it via a smart phone, a new form of contraband being smuggled into prisons across the country.
Cell phones have long been a problem for prisons, but smart phones, which allow Internet access, are becoming increasingly common and pose an even greater threat, prison officials said.
“Smart phones allow for activity that we simply cannot have,” said Indiana Department of Correction communications chief Doug Garrison. “It allows for too much communication, not the least of which is the potential to plot crimes.”
Garrison said “thousands and thousands” of phones are confiscated every year from Indiana prisons and a growing number of them are ones that allow Internet access.
“It’s a serious problem for us,” Garrison said. “There’s no question.”
Kim’s brazen Facebook profile has gone undetected for at least five months.
When contacted by the Tribune via Facebook about how he accesses his profile from prison, Kim’s girlfriend responded on his account saying that she, not him, was managing the profile.
When asked how she obtained pictures of Kim inside prison, she said Kim “borrowed his friend’s phone” to take them and sent them to her.
But Kim and his girlfriend have conversations on Kim’s Facebook page, casting doubt that his girlfriend is posing as him.
Garrison said he would investigate Kim’s apparent Facebook activity further.
Data on the exact number of cell phones seized in Indiana state prisons were not available late last week, but Garrison said the numbers are staggering.