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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

Cell Phones in Prisons

It’s not a new story.  Time Magazine ran an article on it a year and a half ago, but the appearance of smart phones in prisons is growing by leaps and bounds.  In August of last year President Obama approved a law that added additional jail time for those caught with cell phones in prisons, but there is still an ever growing number of inmates who are texting one another, talking with family, and maintaining Facebook pages. A day or two ago the New York Times had an article about it, also picked up by the Indiana Law Blog. Now it doesn’t seem so bad that an inmate might talk with his child, but it is certainly a different story when they are coordinating a strike or concealing online evidence from prison.  So what is the solution?  There has been some talk of jamming cell phones near prisons, but the jam could bleed over into other areas.  Mississippi started a program that created a network around a prison that blocked calls and texts from unauthorized cell phones. It caught over 600,000 unauthorized messages just in the latter half of 2010. According to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, the same program also made money for the prison system—as the use of pay phones went way up.  What do you think?  How bad is it for inmates to have smart phones?  What is the best method to prevent it?

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