Cell Phones in Prison – Comments? Consensus? Visitor Information & Inmate Locator- Prison Inmate Search

Cell Phones in Prison - Comments? Consensus? - Prison Inmate Search

26 Responses to Cell Phones in Prison – Comments? Consensus?

  1. PrisonPath February 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    By James–Cell phones are absolutely not required nor needed to facilitate contact between staff and inmates (offenders). CCTV, E-Mail Access (in some systems), and good old fashioned memo’s are still sufficient and efficient for communication within the prison environment. There is a little issue we refer to as Inmate Accountability…, (facility counts), which require the offender to be present before staff. Any money and/or funding toward this end, would be far better spent in pursuit of true rehabilitative programming. In theory (and in reality), any practice or modification, which extends the boundaries of an offender(s)/inmate(s) confinement, is essentially a furlough. Subsequently, lawful or legal possession of a cell phone by an offender, greatly extends the boundaries of their confinement. And in systems in which furloughs are still granted, they have to be Earned. Call me old fashioned, but the day I have to wait for an offender to answer a cell phone provided by the institution, will be the day I retire!

  2. Connie Lee February 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    I’ve read all the comments and I would have to say I agree with all those who spoke against cell phones for prisoners but more so with the former prisoner who spoke against having cell phones available to prisoners. Who would know better the horrible things that could take place should prisoners have access to a cellphone. And the increased workload on the correction officers to ensure that the other prisoners were safe, not to mention their own safety, would be astronomical at the least. I know this b/c, one, my husband is a correction officer and, two, my son is in prison. Just the thought of prisoners having access to cell phones scares me too death. They can pay for land-line phones just like we do. I do agree that there needs to be a limit or cap that companies charge for land-line calls… it’s becoming horribly high just to talk to your loved ones for just 15 minutes. Right now we are paying $8.50 for 15 minutes of conversation that is shared b/t two parents.

  3. PrisonPath February 27, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    By Jennifer–I personally do not agree with the idea of having cell phones inside prison systems. Prisons are not entertainment based facilities. Law breakers are put there to serve their time and hopefully become rehabilitated. I do agree with Ms. Sandra, no one in prison should feel like they are better then someone else because of the privilege given. There are regular phones in prisons and that is what should be used period.

  4. PrisonPath February 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Annys• Prison officers job is hard enough, take away a simple things like Tv, association it would cause anarchy, especially amongst the young offenders.

    Phone call should be kept to the wing phone whereby it is monitored.

    Sandra.. seeing inside them is not knowing how they run, or like many others that VISIT it is all a good show.

  5. PrisonPath February 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    By Stephen–In the final paragraph of your post it would seem to suggest that you are in favour of cell phones in cells. Our experience would indicate that a significant number seized would indicate illegal activity on message content and the address details of those listed is not family driven. It is also a well known fact that HITS have been ordered and major drug deals and drug distribution has been organized by those in ‘secure custody’.There is a long way to go to educate, train and rehabilitate offenders in order to tackle recidivism. It is my opinion that education, and training in prisons has been at a level which satisifies the ability to say it occurs, while it is, in reality at a pitiful level. All energies should concentrate on this aspect of prison life while in tandem seeking to improve general conditions. In Ireland phoning home or legal representatives is encouraged and assisted.

  6. PrisonPath February 28, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    By Stephen–NO unless for Visitor communication otherwise NO
    Scrap cel phones for inmates.

  7. PrisonPath February 28, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Most def NOT in Favor!
    By James

  8. PrisonPath February 28, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    By Ben–the &UK, regardless of scaremongering by NOMS and HMPS, the reality is that cell phones are used overwhelmingly to stay in touch with family and friends.

    With access to official payphones being highly expensive and restricted, then cellphones offer a far cheaper and more convenient way of maintaining relationships.

  9. Kristie February 28, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Well, being the woman scorned, you can take this with a grain of salt but seriously, these guys have total access to cell phones, enough to absolutely ruin my life. Ive been a faithful soulmate to 997733 for 13 years. Due to my Catholic upbringing, I guess this makes me suseptible to sociopaths. We met in 2001, fell in love, lust, whatever, and due to my obligations to my dying mother and subsequent 4 elder patients I continued to believe what this man, Joe Bandy wrote to me and promised me and delivered to me when he was free. Now it is February 28, 2013 and he is is the STOP IDOC program in Plainfield and I’ve been threatened by an inmate in the program after learning that Joe has been married to a woman named Tia and I’ve been lead on foolishly. I’ll take my licks, that goes with the territory of trying to save souls but seriously, when you can have a relationship, argue nightly, lie, alibi, threaten, etc. all within the secure environment of the IDOC STOP program from phones being smuggled in, can these guys be getting the message that when they get out, life should be lived on the straight and narrow? No way, and if there is a tolerance of this, who are we kidding when they go out and offend again.

  10. PrisonPath February 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Martine • I actually think it depends on the national context and even on the type of jails we are talking about. However I also agree with your conclusion: the best way to fight it all off would be to install land phones within the cells with very cheap fares – in France one can rent a ‘box’ which includes tv, the internet plus unlimited calls to landline for…. less than 30 euros a month. I’m sure prison services could negotiate fares for the whole prison system if they really wanted to. Landlines within the cell would at least enable those who are using their phones for legit purposes to do so. Prison services could still monitor conversations. However, the baddies who still ‘need’ cell phones to continue criminal activities would still smuggle them in. Another issue is overcrowding. A land line per cell is a great idea if you are alone in it. In my country, overcrowding is rife and you’d still have the issue of other inmates hearing your conversations, of the strongest monopolizing its use, you name it. Another way of dealing with cell phones is to install a scrambling system covering the whole prison. Again very good idea, except prison staff cannot use cell phones either and in countries like mine where a good proportion of prisons are situated at the heart of the city, impossible as you also scramble neighbours’ phone lines and create other electronic nuisances. In short no definite answer that would apply everywhere.

  11. PrisonPath February 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    By Clarence–I think that there should not be any cell phones in prison because of security reasons. Prison is a place where you don’t want to go back to not a place where you have the luxuries of life just as someone struggling everyday to maintain on the outside.

  12. PrisonPath March 1, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    By Ben–Or a differential response across the different security categories? g, prohibited in High Security but allowed in Open prisons?

    It was a nonsense that In Open I was allowed to work outside several days a week, but had to hand in my mobile on returning each evening.

  13. PrisonPath March 1, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    By Carol–Cell phones should not be allowed in prisons– they would be used by inmates to continue to manipulate people on the outside- they would still be able to sell drugs, start fights between gangs etc. Plus they would become commerce or a way to buy their way. or trade them for other things–not a good idea at all.

  14. PrisonPath March 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Charles–depends on which side of the fence you are on.. Whether it is the golden goose or a small control safety measure;somewhere there must be an uniform well known mandate. Things can always change with increased information. Everything said can and has been exploited some with success and some without success.

  15. PrisonPath March 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    By David–“What the Department of Corrections wants you to believe…”? I’m sorry, but the individual in that article is still being manipulative and using nonsense numbers and phrases to try to make his point. “Thousands and thousands” of prisoners most likely to have contraband cell phones? If that’s the case a LOT of correctional officers are not doing their jobs.

    This person makes the very valid point that a prisoner’s family also “does time.” Very true. However, they are just another group of victims that the offender has made through their poor choices and bad decision-making process. For this offender to state that “most” prisoners would utilize cell phones simply to keep in contact with friends and family and not use them for purposes of criminality is almost laughable.

    You give up certain rights when you are sentenced to a felony. The payphones are monitored, as they should be. That’s done not to listen in on “Merry Christmas, honey” or “I miss you.” It’s done because oftentimes offenders will try to make hits, or run drug deals or other criminal acts outside the prison.

    Sprint and Verizon and AT&T will all still be there when they release.

  16. PrisonPath March 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    By Kristin–Since when do inmates become experts on their own rehabilitation?

    Benjamin Franklin once said that the most cruel thing one man can do to another is make him comfortable in his poverty. Our efforts to combat recidivism should bear that in mind, while at the same time showing inmates that more comfortable circumstances are an attainable goal. As Mr. Buckner said above, better things should be earned.

    At my facility, inmates can make unmonitored calls to their lawyers on land line phones in housing units and the Legal Resource Center. All other calls are monitored. That is as it should be.

    As an officer working a single officer post, the last thing I need is the added responsibility of answering phone calls from inmates. What better way to compromise an officer’s effectiveness than to distract him with a phone call?

  17. PrisonPath March 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    By Frans–It is not so strange that everybody who has suffered the destructive consequences of a repressive system like a prison, inmates and staff, knows that a clear and strict regime can give protection for everybody. I am not surprised that former inmates do’nt have a “pink” view on the matter. No reason to be optimistic about the tendencies amongst the prison-population. I must admit that it is easier to be optimistic when one can speak as a well-positioned and respected member of the middleclass. At the other hand there still are inmates, even quite a few on death row, who can look at the the system from a more philosophic and relativating point of view. Those are very wise and impressive people!

  18. PrisonPath March 6, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    By Frans–I like Roberts remarks funding education, healthy food and a good daily program. His remarks about “people who are not in the frontline” make clear how sensitive the matter is. Keeping the balance between creating a secure environment and giving inmates the chance to effectively prepare their return to society is incredibly difficult . As a prison director and former guard and super-intendant I know very well that this matter is directly connected with the security and well-being of the prison-staff.
    In practice, in the Dutch situation I have positive experiences with using cell-phones for certain categories of prisoners. I also see that this technology could help us to do our work in the future.
    I realize that’s far away from the reality in de US. I visited one of your prisons in 2012 and was impressed by the lack of hope and trust and the hardness of the relationship between staff and inmates. Colleagues told me that the suicide rate amongst prison staff in the state of Massachusetts is the highest of all professional groups over there. They explained that this was partly caused by PTSD and a culture of not talking about your personal problems. And also: “People see police officers in the streets protecting them, and everybody loves fireman. They think that the problems with delinquents are solved when you lock them up. Well, they are not!” The US has the highest prison rate in the world and spends more money on prisons then on their whole system of higher education. Is there somebody out there, working in the US prison-system who has an idea how to better the situation of staff and inmates? Considering that it has to be done without more money and the fact that prison reform seems to be a no-go-area for politicians?

  19. PrisonPath March 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    robert• How about we define what sort of prisons we are talking about. As death row, institutions for criminally insane, sexual predators, prisoner with sadistic tendencies are not the same as someone who is in for fines let’s being realistic. I have encountered prisoner who would hurt, kill or abuse at any opportunity . Prisoners that have abused tortured and killed their own children.
    On the other hand a prisoner who was in the wrong place at the wrong time ,traffic accidents etc. It is not the same .
    Let’s say in the right conditions where prisoner are at a level of reinsertion into the community , maybe they could benefit having a mobile but at the end of the day it’s money that will determine whether they get them or not. How many fantastic ideas are not put in use as governments are saving money and prisons is the one place the public will not object .

  20. PrisonPath March 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    James • For all those posting on this discussion, please initiate a google search on Rayful Edmond, and intently read about his case. Once you’ve done that, consider what he could have done with a cell phone. Some of us (within this discussion) are approaching the matter in the spirit of altruism, without knowing the full danger of unmonitored inmate communication. I’m fully in favor of enhanced efforts geared toward treatment and reintegration. However, we must remember, the mission of corrections is and always will be, the protection of the public.

  21. PrisonPath March 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    frans• An inmate can only have controlled communication with the outside world. That means that we check letters and have the possibility to listen to recorded phonecalls or even be present when somebody calls. We can separate inmates and their visitors physically by glass.
    The level of security is based on the risc profile of an inmate. As I said before: even the most restricted inmates can communicate within their network in many ways, without us knowing. Remember Steve McQueen in the classic movie Papillon: even when he was in a dark whole in the ground, totally isolated on Devilsisland, Dustin Hofman managed to smuggle food to him!
    I think you give (communication-) facilities to inmates, based on their risc-profile. I saw the film American Gangster (very nice!) and do not think I would give Rayful much space to move in. But protection of the public means also that you give inmates as much possibility to connect with their family as possible, as long as it is not contra-indicated. Deprivation and isolation damages people and makes reintegration more difficult. And less secure for the public…..

  22. PrisonPath March 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    frans• Thank you, Bradley. I say a prison is a self-contained, institutional environment, where prison staff and inmates suffer from the same tendencies. They often do not communicate with each other. They speak in the presence of one another about one another as though neither can hear what the other is saying. They stop perceiving each other as human beings—human beings with families, children and specific, personal characteristics. The staff often treat the inmates in the same manner they feel treated by their boss; in other words, the culture of the prison is top-down. Prison is highly hierarchical, and as it is at the highest level, so it will be at the lowest. How the director or warden treats his or her subordinates is how those subordinates will treat theirs. When there is an abuse of power in a hierarchical culture, that abuse of power trickles down all the way to the lowest power member. In prison, this often results in inmate-to-inmate abuse. Prison is a classic example of the survival of the fittest, but in prison, the weak cannot escape. Instead, the weak are bullied, beaten, raped, and at times, murdered. The existence of corruption and unauthorized violence by staff strengthens this mechanism. Staff and inmates tend to create their own set of rules and regulations, which the warden often does not know about. All these tendencies together create a very unsafe environment.

    I call on everybody to add contributions in this group and to suggest strategies to circumvent these destructive tendencies within the prisons.

    Incarcerated individuals are people too; they are our fellow human beings. The same goes for the staf: you have the right to work in an environment in which you can keep your empathie, openness, integrity and positivism. That does not mean that anybody could avoid being confronted with violence and other negative aspects of the job. And one needs to be very alert all the time on security and be aware of the fact that prison-staf has to stay in charge. That ‘s why I think it is necessary to find ways to make a prison a more healthy place to work in.
    Prisoners are not a different breed of human; they do not derive from another planet. They are individuals who once were our neighbors. They are our brothers; they are children of our friends and friends of our children. They are different from us in that they made severely bad choices that brought severe consequences.


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