Judges crack down on illicit inmate cellphones

Judges crack down on illicit inmate cellphones

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Judges in California and South Carolina have ordered cellphone carriers to shut down nearly 200 contraband phones used by inmates in state prisons to coordinate drug deals, gang operations and even murders.

California’s corrections chief tells The Associated Press on Monday that it’s the first time prison officials obtained warrants requiring a mass shutdown of contraband phones.

It’s a victory for correction officials who have been frustrated by their inability to stop the flow of smuggled phones. Even the late Charles Manson was able to obtain phones behind bars.

South Carolina officials blame a prison riot that killed seven inmates in April on a turf war between gangs over cellphones and contraband.

The wireless industry has long been able to remotely disable cellphones. But the industry has said it needs a court order before it can shut down the devices, even when they’re being used in prisons.


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