USA Today ran this indepth story about a pay-for-information scheme in the Atlanta jail, in which federal inmates looking for cooperation credit bought information to pass on to their handlers, passing it off as their own knowledge. Story here: Federal prisoners use snitching for personal gain. The story offers an unusually detailed and extensive look at the ways that inmates and informants can game the system, buying and selling information that prosecutors and investigators then reward them for and rely on. In this black market free-for-all, inmates paid tens of thousands of dollars ($250,000 in one case) for information to lower their sentences, while FBI agents relied on snitches who were passing on second-hand uncorroborated information from the street. It is the fourth such scheme uncovered in Atlanta alone in the last 20 years.
A similar pay-for-information scheme was discovered in a federal prison in Louisiana, after Ann Colomb and her three sons were wrongfully convicted based on the testimony of dozens of snitch inmates. See this post: Professional Prison Snitch Ring.