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Cell Phones in Prison?



The Huffington Post hosted a discussion about inmates having cell phones in prison. One inmate stated that most inmates would use the cell phones for contact with family members and not for criminal purposes. Although many inmates would use cell phones for family contacts, there is no doubt that a number of the inmates would use cell phones for criminal activity. As a former inmate, I see only serious security problems for the prison. It would be more beneficial to concentrate on the major problem of predatory phone rates as discussed in previous articles on Prisonpath.

See the following Huffington Post article:

Family members of criminals say that when their relatives are sentenced to prison, the entire family serves time. HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill hosted a discussion to explore what resources can help these families deal with their burdens.

For Jeff Brooks, lack of communication during his 16-year prison sentence negatively affected his relationship with his son.

“There are no cell phones in California state prison that are allowed,” Brooks said. “There’s thousands and thousands of guys who have cell phones just simply to keep contact with their families. And they constantly get caught and they get written up. They get more time.”

Some argue that cell phones give prisoners a chance to conduct crime outside, but Brooks disagrees.

“The idea that the department of corrections would want you to believe is that all these guys are all using it for criminality. When the fact of the matter is, all people are trying to do is stay connected with their families.”

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PrisonPathTony YoungSaulAnne Recent comment authors
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I can’t help but agree with you. Even if a given inmate is only using a cell phone to call home, the odds of it getting into the hands of someone who will use it for criminal purposes are very high. Many security measures turn out to be excessive, but not this one. Additional Comments: James• The article mentions cell phones contributing to further criminal activity. However it fails to mention a very specific type of criminal activity, the intimidation and threatening of victims and/or witnesses. Any form of inmate communication that cannot be properly monitored and controlled should be… Read more »

Tony Young

I agree with the above statements. I served 25 years in a California prison and there is just nothing good that would come from it. What next, Facsimile (FAX) machines?


Over here in the UK, seizures of illegal mobile phones dropped considerably when landline phones were installed in all cells, which would appear to support the argument that most prisoners just want to be able to call home.

Additional Comment:

Mandy-I think if parental control was used on the cell phone that would be great, they only have certain phone numbers they call if the violate them in any way phone taken away for a period of no more than 6 months, no internet access calls only

Tony Young

Give me a cell phone in prison and I will find a way to make money with it, tell my victim or the family member what I think of them, get information on staff I can use against them, order hits on the outside, let it be known where a certain inmate is housed make nasty calls to people i don’t know just to pass the time and I may even order pizza! Prison is a place to provide correction for the inmate and safety to the community. When you have relationship problems with your kid because of what YOU… Read more »

Tony Young

it makes sense that seizures of illegal mobile phones drop considerably when land line phones were installed in all cells, why would one break the rules to get and have an illegal phone when one is right there on the wall for you to use? Your line of thought does not appear to support the argument that most prisoners just want to be able to call home. Most prisoners are “able” to call home, most prisoners do not want others to hear what they have to say. Additional Comments: stephen • Not a good place to have a cell phone… Read more »


[…] Consensus? Published February 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm Since the posting of our article “Cell Phones in Prison” on February 19, there have been comments in favor of limited cell phone use for inmates in prison […]