Cell Phones Causing Problems For Inmates In New Jersey And California

Officials in California are cracking down on cell phones in their prisons. They’re turning to specially trained K9 dogs to track down the phones hidden by inmates. The California Institute for Men in Chino is notorious for its cell phone use.

Some would think that drugs, weapons, and tobacco would be a concern in prison. But it’s the cell phones that authorities are after. It’s too easy for inmates to hide their phones in their prison cells. They could even hide in hard to reach places such as the cell walls or the floor.

K9 handler Sergeant Nelson said, “You can smell tobacco, you can smell marijuana. We can smell it, and you know what they are actually sniffing for. With a cell phone I really couldn’t tell you. They surprise me.”

According to ABC7, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility has confiscated more than 10,000 cell phones from its prisons. To help prevent this growing problem, the CDCR is enlisting the help of K9s to track down the cell phones.

CDCR Officer Colon explained, “He barked on the mattress so we’re able to find the cell phone and tobacco in between the mattresses.”

Not all prisons across the country are enforcing the law, though. Just recently, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons employee admitted to providing cell phones to an inmate at Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in Trenton, New Jersey. Elizabeth M. Quinones pleaded guilty to Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in a Trenton federal court on Monday. She was charged with one count of giving an inmate two cell phones, according to the Courier-Post.

Quinones, 30, worked as a health services assistant at Fort Dix, providing the inmate with the cell phones between May and June 2014, according to Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

According to federal officials, inmates at FCI Fort Dix are prohibited from owning cell phones within the prison. Authorities didn’t report the name of the inmate who Quinones allegedly supplied the phones to.

Quinones will also face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. She is scheduled to appear in court to be sentenced on April 9.

This isn’t the first time that cell phones caused problems in U.S. prisons. California prisons tried preventing the problem in 2012 by setting up a block that prevented smuggled cell phones from entering its facilities.

According to the report on the Inquisitr, a private business in California was paid millions of dollars to set up a block on phone calls, text messages, and internet usage made by inmates using smuggled cell phones. Once the phones are disabled, the inmates would have no other option but to pay and use their phones.


[Image by Jumilla on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons]

Share this article: Cell Phones Causing Problems For Inmates In New Jersey And California
More from Inquisitr