October 29, 2010
Inmate calls Chronicle from prison to find out about new cell phone jamming legislation
The San Francisco Chronicle received a call yesterday from a man who was concerned about efforts to jam cell phones in prisons.
He had every reason to be concerned, he was an inmate calling the Chronicle from prison.
The called who said he acquired his phone six months ago -- provided some insider knowledge: The devices go for $800 to $1,200 on the black market, he said, with higher prices for smart phones. Maybe 5 percent of his fellow prisoners have them.
Though prison officials say phones are often smuggled inside in packages, our guy said, "It's mostly the guards, man. You know what's up."
How often does our inmate tipster talk on the phone?
"All day long, man, as long as I can."
Who does he talk to?
"Everybody -- girls mostly. I'm not a gang member, I don't do no gang s--- or drugs. Just family and girls."
We told him there hadn't been any big changes in the jamming effort. The federal legislation, introduced in January 2009, has been stuck in a House subcommittee since March of that year.
Good, he said.
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