Congress moves to crack down on prison cellphones

The devices can be used to direct criminal activity inside and outside jail walls

Published July 20, 2010 11:34PM (EDT)

The House has passed a bill that bans inmates from using or possessing cellphones in federal prisons.

A similar bill already has passed the Senate.

Congress is trying to crack down on the smuggling of cellphones into federal prisons, where they can be used to direct criminal activities both inside and outside prison walls.

The bill approved by the House on Tuesday night would classify cellphones as contraband material. Currently, the devices are not specifically defined as contraband, and inmates and guards caught smuggling them into prisons are rarely punished. One report says inmates pay up to $1,000 for a cellphone. It cites a case where a correctional officer made $150,000 by smuggling phones to inmates.


By Jim Abrams

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