TAZEWELL, Tenn. — After seeing a photo of their aunt's murderer on Facebook, a Claiborne County family supports new legislation to prevent photos of inmates, taken by loved ones, to be disseminated on social media.
In 2006, Jamie Brock was convicted of murdering his wife, Janet, with a baseball bat in a crime the chief prosecutor called "one of the most brutal murders I've ever seen."
The Christmas before last, Janet's nieces were scrolling through Facebook when they saw a photo of Brock, hugging a loved one in a Christmas photo booth behind bars.
"I’m not saying be miserable, but I’m saying they have to pay the consequence for what they’ve done," Tamera Smith said.
Smith and her sister Miranda Adams asked 10News not to show the photo again. They said it was hard enough when they saw it the first time.
"Someone who just stumbled across it and had no idea who they were would think it was just a happy couple at a Christmas party," Adams said.
It shows Jamie Brock, smiling at a Christmas photo booth behind bars.
"It's not a party at all when it comes down to this concern that there are parties going on during visitation that is absolutely not the case," Department of Correction spokesperson Rob Reburn said.
"The policy states that offenders can take a posed photo, it's a generic photograph with their loved one that's whoever comes to visit them during specified holidays," he said, adding inmates sign up and pay for up to four photos with loved ones.
A new bill would make posting those photos to social media illegal. It is supported by district attorneys general like Jared Effler, who prosecuted the Brock case.
"We hope to prevent the public dissemination of prison party photos so another family does not have to go through the re-victimization that Janet's family has endured," he said.
But Reburn countered, arguing restricting photos makes it harder for the department of correction to do its job.
"This is just one of the tools in our toolbox in terms of rehabilitating that offender, getting them ready for success, and getting them ready to go out and be a better mother or father, be a better husband or wife, be a better citizen," Reburn said.