Cell phones have been used to help at least two California inmates escape from minimum-security conservation camps, reports the Associated Press. Investigators fear they are being used by gang leaders to order assaults on other inmates and employees and to coordinate the timing of prison uprisings. California’ prison official Richard Subia called cell phone use “one of the most severe security issues that we have right now.”
State officials are lobbying for a Federal Communications Commission waiver so they can use jamming devices to disrupt cell phone signals inside prisons. The effort has been unsuccessful so far. Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland are using cell phone-sniffing dogs. California inmates caught with phones can lose 30 days of good behavior credits.