Stung by revelations that death row inmates used a smuggled cell phone to log thousands of calls, Texas prison officials are reviewing technology to curb the problem, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The possible solution: high-tech gear that could pinpoint the location in a prison where a smuggled phone is being used. During a contraband sweep in the 112 state prisons, seventy-one cell phones were confiscated – including five from death row – along with 65 chargers. By yesterday, lockdowns had been lifted at just over a third of state prisons.
Michelle Lyons of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said the agency is evaluating specialized equipment that can detect the locations of cell phones in prison cells. Tom Matthews of Embarq, a phone company that in August won a multimillion-dollar contract to install pay phones in Texas prisons, said cell-detection equipment tracks the radio signals that cell phones emit when they are used. This month, prison investigators busted condemned murderer Richard Lee Tabler, 29, after linking him to a cell phone that logged more than 2,800 calls in one month. Authorities suspect that he let other death row convicts borrow the phone.