Feeling Cute Challenge Shows how Jail Workers have Free Rein to Abuse Prisoners

Ben Keller

A new challenge is offering a glimpse into a world many people never get to see. It's dubbed the Feeling Cute Challenge.

It started like any other trend on social media starts: one person from a group of people posts photos with a caption that catches on and then it turns into a trend amongst that group.

They all follow and start doing it, as a means of showing they belong to that group.

Anthropologists would call it totemism, the belief in kinship of a group of people with something in common.

At first glance, the photos may seem harmless and insignificant.

The photos show several uniformed officers standing in front of mirrors, or sitting in their cars, snapping selfies.

That is harmless enough: the world needs corrections officers and people like selfies.

However, it's the captions within the selfies like the following accompanying pictures of the uniformed officers that are drawing criticism from advocates, attorneys and civil rights groups alike:

"Feeling cute, might shoot your baby daddy today . . . idk."

"Feeling cute, might take your homeboy to the hole later."

"Feeling cute, I’m still going to lock you down."

The corrections officers making these comments are from various states working in various jails and prisons.

Ke'Nya Hill posted that she was feeling cute and "might shoot your baby daddy today," according to a post on her Facebook page.

Corrections officer Brenna Elhart said she was feeling cute and might have to tell an inmate's spouse he had other visitors visit him, so he wouldn't be able to see her. Since most jails limit the number of visitors an inmate can see.

Another CO said he was also feeling cute and wanted to "OC spray your baby daddy today."

Jeremy Desel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said the trend resulted in multiple officers being investigated.

"A handful of correctional officers employed by this agency are under investigation for on- and off-duty conduct violations as a result of the alleged posting of inappropriate photographs on social media," Desel said, according to the Washington Post.

Georgia Department of Correction officials officials also condemned the trend.

"The alleged actions of these individuals do not reflect the conduct expected of any GDC employee, and will not be tolerated," Joan Heath GDC spokeswoman said.

" If the allegations are found to be substantiated, swift and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken."

Reprimands also reached those who participated in it in as far as Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State Department of Corrections spokesperson Matthew Eilliott said an investigation is underway and additional action may be taken as a result.

"Beyond the extremely poor judgment shown by these officers, being flippant about mistreating inmates, even if it’s intended as a joke, puts these staff and their fellow officers at risk," Elliott said.

"This is no laughing matter."

A Missouri corrections officer posted about feeling cute and "taking your homeboy to the hole."

That resulted in an investigations by Missouri prison authorities.

"All department of corrections employees are trained in the prevention and reporting of harassment, discrimination and unprofessional conduct and are expected to help ensure that interactions with offenders and fellow employees are professional and respectful,” Communications director for the Missouri Department of Corrections Karen Pojmann told KOMO.

Abusing inmates is nothing new, and there's not much oversight inside jails or prisons.

In Wisconsin, three Milwaukee County Jail workers face felony charges after denying a mentally ill inmate water as punishment.

The inmate died of dehydration, according to the Washington Post.

The fad has faced much criticism on social media.

"I hope they're still 'feeling cute' in the unemployment line," one user wrote on Facebook.

For a more complete compilation of feeling cute selfies visit this page by AmericasPoliceProblem.


Eye On Government