Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hey Prisoner, Your Ass is Ringing

Texas is one of many states finding it hard to keep cell phones out of prisoners hands. They are easy to hide and apparently are even easier to get through prison walls. They are so valuable that convicts are willing to pay large sums of money, sometimes more than for illegal drugs, to get them. According to the Inspector General of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, one phone could cost as much as $2000. How do convicts get that kind of money? And just how do these cell phones get inside? It is apparently not unusual for family/friends or even prison trustees seem to know how to smuggle them in. There could even be some crooked prison guards in the mix. One state senator received a call from a death row prisoner. Needless to say that senator was not at all happy. Apparently there is not much in the way of prisoner monitoring. So now the Texas Legislature passed a bill that would crack down on the prisoners with cell phones. That bill went straight to Gov. Rick Perry.

So this bill would allow prisons to detect or block cell phone signals. Arizona prison officials are apparently training dogs to sniff out cell phones. Ok, so how are they doing that? Do they send dogs into each cell to sniff the beds and other things in the prison? There has even been talk in Texas about doing cavity searches to find the phones. Boy, wouldn't you like that job. I can see the guard now, "Drop your pants and spread your cheeks, I'm going in..." Or what about the women's prison? Most women have a yearly GYN exam. Lie down, we are going to do an internal exam. Speculum? Look what we found! I don't think we will need to send this to pathology - it's only a cell phone. Either way prisoners beware. A dog may sniff out a phone. Or since prisoners will always find new and inventive ways to hide things, prison officials could just wait until they hear a cell phone ring from a body cavity. Who wants to dive in and find it?