Archives for the category: Inmates and Cell Phones
January 3, 2011
The New York Times on how echnology is changing life inside prisons across the country at the same rapid-fire pace it is changing life outside. A smartphone hidden under a mattress is the modern-day file inside a cake.
Although prison officials have long battled illegal cellphones, smartphones have changed the game. With Internet access, a prisoner can call up phone directories, maps and photographs for criminal purposes, corrections officials and prison security experts say. Gang violence and drug trafficking, they say, are increasingly being orchestrated online, allowing inmates to keep up criminal behavior even as they serve time.
December 17, 2010
Just recently, Charles Manson was caught with a cell phone under his mattres, which he used to call unidentified people in 4 different States. Now Nevada's Corrections Department will try and get legislation passed next year to allow state prisons to trace calls on cell phones that have been smuggled into jail.
December 12, 2010
In a protest apparently assembled largely through a network of banned cellphones, inmates across at least six prisons in Georgia have been on strike since Thursday, calling for better conditions and compensation, several inmates and an outside advocate said. The New York Times reports.
... Several inmates, who used cellphones to call The Times from their cells, said they found out about the protest from text messages and did not know whether specific individuals were behind it.
Inmates reaching out to the press by smuggled cell phones, definitely a new trend. Just last week, a British prisoner was able to not only get hold of a mobile phone and use it to video other crimes taking place, but was also able to then pass them to a journalist working for the Sky News TV channel. cf Prisoner uses mobile to video security lapses and boredoom inside jail.
December 7, 2010
We've heard a lot about prisoners getting hold of cell phones and what they do with them, but this story takes the cake. A British prisoner was able to not only get hold of a mobile phone and use it to video other crimes taking place, but was also able to then pass them to a journalist working for the Sky News TV channel. [via Cellular News]
The phone was allegedly purchased from a corrupt prison official at Bullingdon prison in Oxfordshire by prisoner Michael Long who then used it over several weeks to make clandestine video recordings of activities in the prison.
Read full article.
December 4, 2010
Following the news of Charles Manson - one of America's notorious killers - having used a cell phone from prison to call random people, now a convicted murderer locked up for killing an Oklahoma sheriff was caught posting pictures to his Facebook page from inside his prison cell using a smuggled-in cell phone.
Inmate Justin Walker apparently used his blackberry to upload the photos onto Facebook.
[via CBS News]
December 3, 2010
According to the Los Angeles Times, Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history - and convicted of committing the 1969 Los Angeles Tate-LaBianca murders - was caught with a cell phone under his prison mattress last year, which he used to call unidentified people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia.
Asked whether Manson had used the device to direct anyone to commit a crime or to leave a threatening message, Thornton said, "I don't know, but it's troubling that he had a cellphone since he's a person who got other people to murder on his behalf."
Read full article.
November 19, 2010
Following a lawsuit for discrimination by deaf and hard of hearing inmates at Powhatan Correctional Center in Virginia, the prison will become the first major institution in the country to install a videophone so that hearing impaired inmates can communicate with family and friends.
[via The Washington Post]
October 29, 2010
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.
Read full article.
September 23, 2010
There's really nothing to add.
[via Cellular News]
September 3, 2010
After training carrier pigeons to carry cell phones in pouches on their backs, Brazilian mobsters taught a 17 year old boy how to use a bow and arrow to smuggle cell phones into a prison in southern Brazil. He was caught because one of the arrows struck a guard in the back.
According to the AP, the teen was able to shoot at least four cell phones into the prison before he was caught late Wednesday.
September 2, 2010
A coalition of law enforcement agencies has arrested four Nuestra Familia gang leaders and 30 gang members. Several of those caught were allegedly given orders to commit murder and other violent crimes by imprisoned gang leaders who were serving time in Pelican Bay State prison, which is near the Oregon border. The imprisoned leaders of Nuestra Familia sent them encrypted messages via cell phones.
August 31, 2010
As cellphone jamming is, for the most part, still out of the question in US prisons, Berkeley Varitronics has introduced a handset called the Wolfhound that hones in on cell phone signals.
-- Cell phone detector dogs - The first dog to sniff cell phones was called Murphy, he was a 20 month-old English Springer Spaniel in 2006 who had been trained in prisons across the East of England.
August 23, 2010
According to The Telegraph, Italian gangsters are using a football TV show’s text ticker to send coded messages to their jailed bosses.
The Italian program allows football fans to send SMS text messages which then run along a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen when the show is being broadcast.
Read full article
August 11, 2010
Hoping to stop federal inmates from directing crimes from behind bars, President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday a prohibition on cell phone use by prisoners. CNN reports.
The law prohibits the use or possession of mobile phones and wireless devices, and calls for up to a year in prison for anyone found guilty of trying to smuggle one to an inmate.
August 10, 2010
The California State Senate on Monday unanimously passed SB525, which would make it a misdemeanor to deliver a cell phone or other wireless communication device to an inmate. It also would criminalize possessing such a device with the intention of giving it to a prisoner. Violators face fines of up to $5,000.
July 21, 2010
Congress moved Tuesday to make it tougher for federal prison inmates to use cell phones and wireless devices to direct criminal activities within or outside prison walls, reports Cellular News.
The House voted by voice to close a loophole in federal law by banning the use or possession of cell phones or wireless devices in federal prisons and classifying those devices as contraband.
Read full article.
July 13, 2010
You read about cell phones smuggled to inmates via bribed wardens, but here's a case reported by The Boston Herald where a prison guard was actually caught and sentenced.
A corrections officer at East Jersey State Prison who admitted smuggling two cell phones to an inmate who is a member of the Latin Kings street gang has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Read full article.
May 15, 2010
CTIA-The Wireless Association® President and CEO Steve Largent issued the following statement in response to the Notice of Inquiry (NOI) issued by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) on how to prevent contraband cell phones in prisons:
Photo above by Corbis, published on the Daily Mail. The 1,800 mobile phones confiscated since 2006 at the state prison in Vacaville, California.
May 9, 2010
The Daily Mail on how smuggled mobile phones are used by prisoners to commit crimes from their cells.
... Prisoners would rather have their own or a shared mobile phone. The reasons are apparent. Mobile phones can receive calls as well as making them, they cost less per call, they can be used at any time, they can take photographs and do other clever things. Prisoners also like mobile phones because they are not routinely monitored and so can be used for criminal purposes and in particular for drug trafficking.'
Read full article.
March 22, 2010
Prisons fighting a war on illegal mobile phones are confiscating one an hour, according to The Mirror.
The number of handsets and SIM cards found in jails in England and Wales increased by 8% over the past 12 months to 8,786.
March 20, 2010
We've heard of cell phones smuggled into jails in the most imaginative ways; they have been found hidden in mens' undwear, stuffed inside a toad or a dead squirrel, in mayonnaise jars, in compost piles, a prisoner's bowels, the soles of their shoes, inside hollowed-out blocks of cheese, or alarmingly and more commonly, through a corrupt correctional officer.
But flying through the air from the outside on a crossbow is a new one.
According to UK's Daily Record:
Accomplices on the outside are helping the prisoners get their booty past security.
February 17, 2010
Corrections officers will begin testing signal-jamming equipment in a Maryland prison later this week, as officials try to show Congress that the technology can thwart inmates from using forbidden handsets to commit crimes. Mobiledia reports.
Regulators hope the test, to be held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, will show that cell phone jammers can be used without interfering with emergency response signals and legitimate use near prisons, a concern of the Federal Communication Commission.
Read full article.
February 2, 2010
Mobile phone jammers will be allowed to operate in prisons if the communications regulator approves an exemption to a decade-old ban on the call-blocking devices, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
... Previously jammers had been allowed for some uses by the defence force and the federal police.
January 27, 2010
According to statesman.com, a condemned San Antonio law enforcement killer sent a photo of himself out of Texas' death row two years ago using a smuggled cell phones.
The case confirms what prison officials have long suspected, that convicts — even those on death row, which is supposed to be the most secure part of Texas' massive prison system — have had Internet access with smuggled cell phones.
Read full article.
December 30, 2009
A scary article from The Telegraph, linking mobile phones in prison to terrorist activity.
Mobile phones smuggled into British prisons could be used by Islamist militants to spread their extremist ideology and threaten national security, Conservatives claimed.
October 13, 2009
According to NBC, one year after Texas prison operators promised to get mobile phones out of the hands of inmates, records show mobile phones are still getting into convicts hands.
A state report shows that authorities confiscated 995 cell phones between January and August, a rate that will top last year's 1,226 seizures if it continues, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
During the statewide lockdown a year ago, 22 cell phones were found on death row. During the latest search, none turned up, officials said.
October 6, 2009
The Senate on Monday passed the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009 (S.251), which allows states to petition the Federal Communications Commission for the authority to "jam" - or block the use of cell phones from prison.
Under current law, the FCC does not allow cell phone jamming of any kind.
The bill will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.
[via WBAL Radio]
October 3, 2009
Inmates and cell phones, an ongoing problem. According to The Los Angeles Times, prison officials confiscated 4,130 this year, more than in the previous three years combined.
September 4, 2009
Officials from five states observed tests on cell phone detection technology at a closed Maryland prison on Thursday, as states are taking a greater interest in finding ways to halt violence orchestrated by inmates behind prison walls. Cellular News reports.
The technology tested Thursday is designed to enable corrections officials to locate and root out contraband cell phones. It differs from cell phone jamming devices that would block signals and render cell phones useless in prison. Federal law now prohibits states from using the jamming devices, and legislation in Congress would change the law to allow states to use them.
August 19, 2009
A convicted drug dealer who ran an international cocaine ring from a Yorkshire jail cell using a smuggled mobile phone to organise deliveries from central America has been jailed for 18 years. The Yorkshire Post reports.
George Moon made phone calls to a contact in Panama using the contraband phone and two sim cards, and organised an operation which saw £300,000 worth of drugs imported into the UK.