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Bill To Crack Down On Prison Cell Phones Advances

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The measure by Democratic Senator Alex Padilla would punish cell phone smugglers - employees or visitors - with up to six months in prison and up to a five-thousand dollar fine per device.  The bill has bipartisan support and passed its first committee unanimously.  Padilla says the phones are a real threat to public safety:

"We don't just suspect, we know that cell phones are being used by inmates to commit all sorts of crimes.  To intimidate witnesses, to terrorize rape victims, to plan escapes from prison, to coordinate attacks on guards; the list goes on and on."

Inmates caught with phones would face the loss of up to six months of "good time" credits.  Padilla says last year more than 10-thousand phones were confiscated.   A similar bill was vetoed last year by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said it wasn't tough enough.  
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