Liberty County Sheriff: Jail inmates had access to porn

March 2, 2012 2:12:46 AM PST
It's supposed to be punishment, and a place where criminals can think about what they've done. So why have some inmates been able to watch porn in jail?

It's been a problem that finally got solved at the Liberty County Jail. Comcast cable has now placed a scrambling device on the signal coming into the jail. They tell us that should keep inmates from being able to access anything inappropriate.

Inmates have been able to access Cinemax, which bills itself as the best in "adult TV." It was among the channels accessed for more than two months by inmates inside the Liberty County Jail.

"Some of those channels obviously did have some type of pornographic shows or material that were on them," said Capt. Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office says guards first discovered inmates watching the racy shows in December. We found jail records written by a guard in early February stating they were watching "again." The county says they tried for weeks to get Comcast, the cable provider, to come out and rectify the problem.

Capt. Evans said, "I believe that Comcast just couldn't believe that their system had been manipulated."

According to internal emails from the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, it wasn't until February 7 that a Comcast engineer actually came out to the jail.

Liberty County taxpayer Lynne Ferguson said, "I thought, wow -- wonder how they did that."

Another email indicates that jail officials later learned "the inmates had unplugged the (cable) boxes... and hooked up the TVs to the cable wire directly."

It's troublesome to some taxpayers.

Resident Sharon Morrow said, "Yeah, it bothers me. It really does bother me."

A Comcast representative says they responded February 7, immediately after being notified. A spokesperson told us, "Once Liberty County made us aware the inmates had access to Cinemax, we took the necessary steps to block access to the channel."

Liberty County insists it took Comcast some time to respond. The sheriff's office is looking at whether or not those at the jail acted appropriately and swiftly once this incident was discovered.

We worked on this story with the help of our friends at Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more in the Dayton News.