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Low-tech vs. high tech to stop cell phones in prison




Inmates at Chino State Prison walk the hallway on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California.
Inmates at Chino State Prison walk the hallway on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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California prison officials are trying a new tack to stop cell phone use by inmates. They are trying to block cell phone signals, but the technology has failed when used in other states. Every year, thousands of cell phones are confiscated in California prisons.

Inmates use them for various and nefarious reasons - ordering hits and managing gang activity from the inside out. How the phones get in is just as varied and shadowy. Evidence and testimony from officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) show that staff members smuggle in phones for a lucrative profit.

Yet, corrections officers are not searched when they show up for work. Some reports say it would violate their contract, others say the state doesn't want to pay for the shift time resulting from searches. What is the best way to stop cell phones in prisons? Why aren't corrections officers searched?

Guests:

Rina Palta, KPCC reporter

Ryan Sherman, spokesperson for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA)