Oops. For about two months there, inmates at the Moose Lake Correctional Facility, including some sex offenders, were getting racy after-hours HBO and Showtime shows on their televisions.
Corrections officers had reported the "pornographic" programming coming through inmates' TVs in April, but it wasn't until mid-May that prison officials finally worked out what was going on. Inmates' basic cable feed was getting supplemented with promotional limited-time access to premium programming buried in the upper channels.
"Someone found it, flipping through" said Shari Burt, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. "Inmates have a lot of time on their hands, you know?"
Minnesota prisons have banned nude and sexually provocative material into the prison since the 1980s, Burt said. "We want to create a comfortable environment for the people who work there and visit, as well as the inmates."
Corrections officers regularly scan incoming magazines to make sure there's nothing too exciting inside.
Once they figured out where the frontal nudity showing up on inmates' screens was coming from, prison officials were able to get their cable provider, Mediacom, to shut it off. Of course, prisoners still have access to the basic Mediacom lineup, which includes such chaste and educational programming as Spike TV's Impact and MTV's Jersey Shore.