Cellphones are a growing form of contraband in California’s prison system, reports the Los Angeles Times. More than 1,000 cellphones and BlackBerrys have been confiscated during the last year after being smuggled into prisons in a security breach that has authorities scrambling to stop illicit communication. The problem was noticed about seven years ago as the devices became tinier, but smuggling of the items in the 33-prison system has exploded in the last few years.
Police and prosecutors worry that the phones will help gang leaders and other convicts orchestrate criminal activity from behind bars. “It is a tremendous problem,” said Anthony Kane, associate director for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Last year they [prison officials] confiscated over a thousand cellphones, including BlackBerrys. It breaches our security. It allows the inmates to conspire with people on the street to commit crimes.”