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Cell Phones in Prisons

 

In ancient times, guards would have been hard pressed to smuggle a phone as shown above. There have been countless reports from all over the country about the widespread use of cell phones in prison. An investigation in Baltimore , Maryland revealed that female correctional officers were smuggling cell phones to members of the  BGF, a notorious gang, for expensive gifts. Drugs and sex were also provided by the female officers to gang members. For additional details see, “Female Correctional Officers and Male Inmates.”  Prisonpath has posted several articles about the use of cellphones by inmates in prison. The articles elicited numerous opinions, both pros and cons, about inmates having cell phones in prison. there have been reports of cell phones being used for illegal activity such as drug deals and witness intimidation. As in other states, Connecticut has reported the smuggling of cellphones into prison by correctional officers. Prices for smuggled cell phones were reported as high as $1,000. The following article reported on cell phones in Connecticut prisons since 2008.

By Chris Coffey – NBC Connecticut

Prison inmates in Connecticut are finding ways to put you at risk, even though they’re behind bars.

They’re getting their hands on cell phones that are smuggled into prison facilities.  Prison officials across the country say the phones could be used to make drug deals, coordinate escapes and even harass victims and authorities.

The Troubleshooters also spoke to two former prison inmates who recall seeing other incarcerated people using cell phones to make drug deals and communicate with friends and family members.

According to the Connecticut Department of Corrections, more than 100 cell phone devices have been confiscated from Connecticut prison facilities since 2008.

“Conveyance or use of electronic wireless communication devices in a correctional institution is strictly prohibited.  This is a criminal offense,” said DOC spokesperson Karen Martucci.

Dr. Michael Jenkins is a criminal justice expert at the University of New Haven who said prisoners with cell phones pose a risk to the public by undoing the hard work of police officers.

“Now those individuals are continuing their sway, continuing their control over their groups in the streets,” Jenkins said.

The phones can fetch up to a thousand dollars within a prison.

So how do they get inside?  The Troubleshooters were also told by the two former inmates that some prison guards supply the cell phones.

A spokesperson for the DOC said the department cannot discuss how contraband gets smuggled into prisons based on safety and security concerns.  However, DOC said if a staff member is caught supplying cell phones to inmates they would face criminal charges and possible termination from the agency.

The DOC is dedicated to finding the cell phones before they can pose a problem.

“The Connecticut Department of Correction recognizes the security concerns created by cell phones within our facilities and has responded appropriately,” Martucci said.

Lt. Greg Chandler spends his days with his K-9 companion, Briana, searching cell blocks for the contraband.

“We do a good job of trying to deter it,” Chandler said.  “I’ve got to give credit to a lot of our intel staff because we catch them very early if we do get them.”

Chandler said they’ve confiscated everything from $35 throw-away cell phones to iPhones and Blackberries.  Although the DOC cannot explain what exactly attracts Briana to the cell phone devices, she knows the scent well.

“Once we had that odor, it was just a simple fact of imprinting her with that odor in her brain and teaching her to relate to search for it,” Chandler said.

Some states are considering installing jamming devices at prisons to block unregistered cell phone signals. However, there are no plans to do that in Connecticut at this time.

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3 Responses to Cell Phones in Prisons

  1. PrisonPath May 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    By Keith–Perhaps if the cost of communicating with families wasn’t so unfairly high for prisoners, they would’t have to resort to smuggling in cell phones. Have you seen this report? http://lnkd.in/Uxc-Uv

  2. sharon May 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    i dont thank its fair to people that travel and only have an cell phone .. why cant they call on cell ?????? this is my home number..

  3. PrisonPath May 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    By Roland–Agreed, Having spent 20 years of my professional career in the Telecommunications sector, I know 1st hand that for family members to accept phone calls collect from inmates these calls sometimes can be 5 X 10 and 15 times higher than typical basic or collect call. The Telecommunications bid on the private or state contracts at a premium.at our expense.

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