Inmates Keep Tie To Outside With Smuggled Cell Phones
The possession of cell phones by inmates continues to intensify as a problem for prison officials, particularly those who are concerned that the devices are being used to oversee criminal activities back home, devise escapes, intimidate witnesses, or buy drugs.
States such as Texas, Pennsylvania, and Iowa have crafted laws that make it illegal for an inmate to possess a cell phone, but other states such as Washington are considering adopting new technology that will enable prisons to detect the use of cell phones.
According to Joseph D. Lehman, the secretary of corrections in Washington State, the new technology would also allow prison authorities to monitor a cell phone and jam its signal. However, some prison officials are concerned that the new technology could jam radios used by the prison as well, and even block local cell phone signals.
Arizona and Oregon are among several states that do not have a cell phone problem, which is attributed to the strategic placement of metal detectors and other strict policies.
New York City jails run the belongings and mattresses of inmates through a portable X-ray machine in the corridors.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the New York Times (06/21/04) P. A15; Butterfield, Fox .