California prison officials seized nearly 7,000 cell phones last year. This growing problem is being addressed by a bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles. The bill would impose a $5000 for smuggling a cell phone into a California prison.
California Bill to Impose Severe Fines for Smuggling Cell Phones into Prisons
Cell phones are prohibited in prisons, but stubborn employees find ways to smuggle them in. The cell phones pose a threat of prisoners getting hold of them and using them to plot escapes, threats and street crimes. When I worked in the county jail, any cell phone had to be surrendered before entering. They actually checked your purse. If caught smuggling a phone in, the consequence was being fired.
Padilla’s bill was approved unanimously 36-0 and now heads for the Assembly for vote. Not only does the bill suggest a $5000 fine but would also be a misdemeanor. While I think more laws are just a way to keep the legislators busy, I applaud their sentiment. But what about Internet access for prisoners? Is it restricted strictly enough? In county jails the prisoners have no access but what about in State and Federal prisons? Rules there are somewhat different. And if they have even limited access to the Internet, is that any different than having a cell phone? What do you think?