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Posted at 7:51 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Prison phone crackdown working

By Washington Post Editors

Maryland's prison agency says its crackdown on cell phone smuggling is showing results.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said Monday that the number of cell phones found in the prisons dropped 32 percent in fiscal year 2010 from fiscal year 2009.

The agency says it found a little over 1,100 cell phones last year compared with nearly 1,700 the previous year.

The agency made stopping contraband a priority three years ago.

Secretary Gary Maynard says the improvement reflects department efforts including more than $1 million spent on new detection technology in 2009.

He says the agency also hired an investigator whose sole focus is cell phone cases.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 1, 2011; 7:51 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Prison Beat  
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As a retired correctional officer (1997) I can attest to the difficulty of stopping the introduction of contraband..Cell phones weren't an issue during my tenure but like any form of contraband, swift and harsh action is necessary...

The main trafficker here are employees...Not only termination but prosecution should be used to deter this type action...same as drugs being introduced...But sad to say most violations are dealt with by just termination...

Posted by: pentagon40 | February 1, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

This is never a problem in local jails, only prisons. I wonder why. Simple solution: limited contact visits, frequent searches and shakedowns and no staff cell phones allowed. Put staff through a scanner before entering the secure perimeter. Problem solved.

Posted by: onyxnkeelo | February 1, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Cell phones are not illegal drugs and are not dangerous weapons.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 1, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

A cell phone could be used as a weapon. While working at a school, how do you think kids orchestrated fights after school involving outsiders? Can you imagine what a prisoner could do? Witnesses, employees, arresting officers, etc., would be in danger, because retaliations could be planned. Drug businesses and gangs could be given orders over the phone, so yes, a phone could be considered a weapon. They are not just used to say I miss you honey!

Posted by: wisepat | February 1, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Simple. Make the term of punishment for smuggling contraband into prisons equal to that of the receiver of said items and add five years to both.

Posted by: slim21 | February 1, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

There's an easier way. Cell phone blockers. You can get cell phone blockers relatively cheap. If you make the cell phones useless, I bet you'll have fewer people bothering to smuggle them in.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | February 1, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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