What do you think of when you hear about prisons inmates? People who sit around playing Farmville on their Smartphones? Me neither. But, apparently these Facebook games are common ways of occupying the prisoners’ time.
The number of cell phones inside prisons has quadrupled over the past 3 years. Personally, I had no idea this sort of thing was this big an issue. Prisoners are under secure monitoring, so how are they getting that many phones past security? It makes me uneasy to know that these inmates, essentially these criminals, are making unmonitored phone calls while supposedly having their rights restricted while in prison.
Former New York City Correction Commissioner Martin Horn argues that prison is used as punishment by separating the inmates from society. How does this punish them if they still have access to the outside world through the possession of cell phones? Horn believes these efforts are useless and I’m inclined to agree.
Farmville might not be the only thing they are working on using their Smartphones. As far as we know, they could be planning the same sorts of crimes for which they were sent to prison. The best example of an inmate continuing the criminal life through prison doors using a cell phone is Anthony Kidd. Kidd arranged the murder of his girlfriend from inside a prison in New Jersey.
I am not accusing the prison security systems of any intentional misconduct or of not doing their job. Obviously, they are doing something right since they are confiscating as many of the phones as they have. However as technology improves and time passes, criminals get smarter. They think of new ways to get around the security systems the same way they think of other ways to commit crimes.
Since these inmates are getting smarter, how can the prisons keep these cell phones out? The security officials monitor the activities of the inmates to the best of their abilities, but they can’t watch the entire facility every second of the day. There has been talk of employing K-9 units to sniff out the cell phones inside the prisons. The dogs would be able to detect the ionization in the cell phone batteries. This may be effective in recovering some of the phones, but will it be available for use in all prisons?
As I mentioned above, even the most watched inmates are finding ways to sneak phones in. I was shocked to hear that even Charles Manson had access to a cell phone. This man orchestrated several murders by simply convincing other people to commit them. Imagine what sorts of things he could be working on with this access to unlimited unmonitored calls.
Maybe the only hope to solving this cell phone issue in prisons is the use of K-9 units. I’m not sure exactly how we would go about utilizing this service in all prisons, but something other than more secure surveillance needs to be put into effect immediately.
Read about the man believed to be the longest serving prisoner