They're hidden in babies' diapers, ramen noodle soup packages, footballs, soda cans and even body cavities.
drugs or weapons, but cellphones. They're becoming a growing problem in
prisons across the country as they are used to make threats, plan
escapes and for inmates to continue to make money from illegal activity
even while behind bars.
pick states all across the country and you'll see everything from hits
being ordered on individuals to criminal enterprises being run from
inside institutions with cellphones," said Michael Crews, head of
Florida's Department of Corrections.
two murderers serving life sentences escaped from Florida Panhandle
prison last fall, a search of their cells turned up a cellphone used to
help plan the getaway, drawing attention to the burgeoning problem. It
was just one of 4,200 cellphones confiscated by prison officials last
year, or 11 per day.
"The scary part is, if we found 4,200, we know that's not all of them," Crews said.
A nationwide problem
Texas, a death row inmate made several calls with a cellphone to state
Sen. John Whitmire, who chairs the Criminal Justice Committee.
Infamous murderer Charles Manson, imprisoned in California, was found with a cellphone under his mattress, twice.
Indiana prisoners were convicted of using cellphones smuggled in by
guards to run an operation that distributed methamphetamine, heroin and
A prisoner in Georgia was accused this year of
using two cellphones to impersonate a sheriff's lieutenant and scam
elderly drivers who had received red light camera tickets, getting them
each to pay about $500.
In Oklahoma, a newspaper investigation found dozens of prisoners using cellphones to maintain Facebook pages.
departments keep looking for new ways to stop cellphone smuggling,
prisoners are finding creative, new ways to get them in.
may get a prepackaged, sealed ramen noodle soup — and it's completely
sealed — the weight seems to be right, but when you open it, there's a
cellphone inside," said Timothy Cannon, Florida's deputy corrections
secretary. "They're very, very, very creative in the way they do some of