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Prisoners May Lose Their Cell Phone Privileges, If Congress Has Its Way

a cell phone behind barsAmerica's killers and drug dealers might soon find themselves without even a cell phone to distract them from the everyday rigors of federal penitentiaries. As of right now, cell phones and wireless gadgets aren't classified as contraband by federal law, and prisoners found in possession of them are hardly ever punished. In a vote yesterday, though, the House of Representatives decided to close that loophole, echoing the sentiments of a similarly hard-lined bill that the Senate had already passed. As the AP reports, the proposed legislation would also impose a one-year jail sentence on anyone who attempts to provide cell phones to inmates.

According to a recent study conducted in California, prisoners often pay anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to get their hands on a burner, and one corrupt officer reportedly made $150,000 in one year simply by selling phones to inmates. Why are prisoners so eager to talk on a cell from their cell? One explanation could be that inmates are required to dial collect (and pay more money) when making real calls to family or friends. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who sponsored the Senate bill, also argued that many inmates use their mobiles to conduct criminal business from within prison confines. Of course, anyone familiar with the Barksdale Organization knows that criminals will still probably find a way to do business from the pen -- with or without their own phones. If Congress's plan comes to fruition, though, they'll just have to find more creative ways to do so. [From: AP]

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