Should States Make it a Crime for Inmates to Use Cellphones?


California prison inmates are using smart phones to text, surf the Web and post videos to YouTube, NPR reports. One inmate even shot and narrated a video on his cell phone camera while guards tried to put down a riot. The prisons say it’s dangerous because convicts can use the phones to stay in touch with other criminals. One correctional officer said a man recently tossed a football containing 27 cell phones and chargers into a prison.

One guard claimed he made $150,000 smuggling phones. Smuggling cell phones to convicts isn’t a crime. State Sen. Alex Padilla is proposing to fine cellphone smugglers up to $5,000 and give guilty inmates extra prison time. Padilla says the problem is “growing exponentially and bottom line is, every cell phone at the hands of a dangerous inmate is a crime waiting to happen.”

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