The state of California has lots of problems, and while the prisoners in their jails enjoying illegal access to mobile phones is a cause for concern, the ever increasing debt gets priority. Plans to pass a law that would make it illegal to smuggle a mobile phone inside a prison or for a prisoner to own a mobile phone have been canceled since the state would rather have criminals out on the street sooner than keep them locked in for an extra few months if they get caught trying to contact the outside world; it costs the state $50,000 per year to keep just 1 inmate in jail. Deputy Corrections Director Richard Subia says prison staff confiscated 11,000 cell phones from inmates last year. “We’ve found them in walls, put down inside of walls, inside of toilets, in peanut butter, in garlic … you’d be surprised,” he said, later adding: “We had an officer that we stopped in one of our Northern California prisons who said he made $100,000 one year for bringing in cell phones.”
The solution would of course be to let prisoners own their own cell phones that they could pay off would money earned from doing hard labor. Their calls would be recorded, and anyone caught trying to arrange a drug deal or getting someone whacked would have their prison sentence increased, while those who are just trying to keep a relationship going with their loved ones can enjoy hearing someone’s voice versus exchanging letters. That or get cell phone jammers in place, which might anger operators, and the FCC, but it’s cheap. Prison guards wouldn’t be able to use their mobiles at work, but it’s a small price to pay. They can use landlines instead.
What do you think, how should jails deal with inmates using mobile phones while incarcerated?