Ah, the cell phone. That ubiquitous little device that so many drivers now take for granted – that kids tote to school (little Johnny may not be able to read, but boy can he text) – that everybody, absolutely everybody has. Including prisoners. And cell phones in prison and jail have become a huge problem.
Just how big a problem it has become is well-illustrated by the announcement by New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram of charges against 35 inmates for possession of cellphones. During the investigation, officials intercepted a conference call between gang members in prison!
Explains Milgram, “Two inmates in different prisons and a third inmate in a county jail were plotting retaliation against another gang member.”
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States want to be able to install cell phone jammers at prisons and jails, however currently, under Federal law, only federal agencies are allowed to jam cell phone signals. (Congress is currently looking at relaxing that rule to allow state authorities to jam cell signals as well.)
In the meantime, states are employing other methods to detect cell phones, including using scanners, and even specially-trained dogs.
In New Jersey alone, over 400 cell phones have been discovered and confiscated from inmates. Some were hidden in Bibles, in jars of peanut butter (to try to thwart the dogs), and, of course, in body cavities (eew, talk about reaching out and touching someone!)
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