Cell phones in prison

Brownell, Charles A.



Cell Phones in Prisons Today in the United States, cellular phones are everywhere. You cannot go to any place where people are and not see a cell phone of some flavor. With the vast amount of uses, tools, and the "internet-of-things," it's no surprise people carry and use them everywhere. People in public often appear as zombies walking arround with their cell phone in hand, blankly staring at the screen... The U.S. government has to battle a couple of issues for illegal uses and by criminals, even in the prison systems. In all prisons across the continental U.S., law enforcement battles the existence and usage of cellular devices by incarcerated persons and the truly criminal. No matter how many devices correctional officers find in shakedowns, more devices are smuggled into the facility by prison staff and placed in the hands of inmates. How the inmates are getting cellular devices and hiding them exposes the level of corruption, the lack of security, and reality of what prison is truly about. At the going rate of $150 for a ten dollar free world phone or $400 for a fifty to one hundred dollar free world phone, the money to be made is high. For $600 the inmate can get a used high end yet older contract phone. In all cases, the inmate has to come up with the means to put and keep time on the device. Inmates use cell phones for a lot of different reasons and due to the ridiculous cost of the prison phones and the restrictions, the most common use is communications with family and friends. Most incarcerated people are very normal everyday people that simply made a bad choice or mistake. They have friends and family in the free world and simply want to be able to call and talk to them any time and be able to speak freely. This also gives the ability to have unrecorded conversations and allows inmates to bypass the extremely high price gouging at the facility phones and time limits. In spite of your "basic human rights" and "constitutional rights," both of which mean nothing to the Arkansas state prison system, A.D.C., "they" will do all they can to look for a reason to deny you the right to outside contact with your family and the world. If for no other reason, this one alone makes most feel the risk is worth it for unadulterated contact with family and loved ones. Cell phones in prison are also used for porn and very criminal activity which should be of no surprise because they are used for porn and very criminal uses by females and males in the free world daily. Money exchanges via Western Union money transfers, Money Gram money transfers, and especially Green Dot Money Pak money transfers are the most common criminal uses to pay for goods, services, or substances such as drugs. Gangs also use cell phones to organize activities, check charges of other inmates, check up on location transfers of inmates, get messages across facilities or to other facilities, and to get pictures or videos of proof that a "hit" or "job" was done. States and federal systems all know that legal and illegal activity takes place on cell phones in the prisons. Most of it is very harmless family communications. What makes the government upset is that it gives inmates uncontrolled communications to the outside world. Inmates have and will take pictures and/or video of issues or events and actions of staff or officers and report them to the news and/or appropriate authorities. Today, cell phones give prisoners the ability to have physical and digital evidence of the claims of wrong doing and maltreatment. It should be a requirement of all corrections officers to wear a body cam and a third party review daily footage for wrong doing and report it. As it stands it is the inmates best line of defense to have a cell phone yet because of the risk to our lives, health, and other punishments, we in A.D.C. fear having a cell phone device... but should all have them for protection and safety reasons. The most common use of the cell phone for communication is internet access. Inmates will use a cell phone to connect to all social media and use it to keep up with their family and their friends, to communicate with them and to keep up on what is really going on out in the free world. This kind of connection is such a strong need and requirement for the mental well being of inmates that many will risk the ability to go home on parole, to visit their family and talk to them just to be able to keep up with them on a daily basis and their lives in the everyday world. Cutting a person off from society is punishment, cutting them off from their families is destructive, causes serious mental issues, and is a form of mental torture and cruel and unusual punishment. How, in the name and sake of "reform" and "rehabilitation" is causing mental disorders and separation issues by cutting people's connections with family and friends in the free world considered a good and helpful thing? How is knowingly putting a person in danger by cutting them from their loved ones and placed in deadly unregulated prisons a "good" thing? It is foolish to ever expect people to care or want to do bettor or good for anyone if they lose all connection to the free world and their loved ones. It is foolish to expect a person pulled out of a dangerous place such as prison or war where people cannot trust anyone around them and fear for their lives and well being because of the dangers and activity they see every day that damages their psyche, and jump into society and jobs when they couldn't even keep up with society, trends, or technology. Today's inmates counter a lot of these issues with a cell phone which surprisingly does a lot to drive an inmate to stay calm, do good and to go home because they get to regularly keep in contact with a positive influence to go home to. Today many jails and prison facilities allow tablets for their incarcerated persons. In some cases these tablets can be used in conjunction with existing facility services for video visitation and/or phone calls and emails through companies like Secure US that do list approvals for contacts, payment methods, and communications monitoring. The main purpose of the tablet is educational applications such as Edovo.com and some "entertainment" means. Why not allow cell phones in prisons through providers like Secure US? Why impede a person's ability to stay in contact with the people that give them reason to be and do good? A connection with family and the outside world is so crucial to morale and overall attitude especially towards getting out and going home. All of this information in consideration of the use of cell phones in prisons, we have four possible solutions... Better security of inmates and staff, allow the use of a controlled cell repeater device often called a stingray, allow cell phones and their use in prisons, or allow controlled and monitored cell phones like the tablets. All three option have their own pro's and con's that deserve further explanation. Option One: Better security more focus on the correctional officers and staff and checking them for smuggling contraband and not just increased focus on the inmates. Body scanners and real pat-downs and shakedowns completely unannounced and surprise along with cameras in the barracks will put a quick end to the cell phone and drugs in a unit. The security on family members coming in for visitation is crazy and the use of a drug dog to sniff a person over along with the body scanner keeps drugs and phones or contraband out that way. Security checks and body scans of staff is minimal and there are known "care pack" drop off points around the plantation that allows for things to be dropped off and smuggled in later. Most contraband is smuggled in by A.D.C. staff especially cell phones. Most of this is due to A.D.C. being so very dissolute and much of the staff being gang associated or affiliated. In a recent incident as of January 2019, a bunch of basket balls, foot balls, soccer balls, volley balls and base balls were ordered. It was discovered several big packs of tobacco, ICE (the drug), weed, K2, and cell phones were inside some of the balls. This option, because of corruption, will never work. Option Two: Controlled cellular repeater / sting ray is a very special device that is connected to an internet connection and acts as a cellular access tower to connect cell phones to the cell network. Cell phones naturally "connect" to the strongest "local" cellular access point by default. The government wont tell the public what this device does yet we hackers have known for years. A cellular repeater can be used to monitor and record all cellular traffic data or voice. Voice to text systems can be used with audio recorders to save a text copy of communications. With this device you can also easily pull phone data from the cellular device such as phone number, personal data, app data, GPS data, call and text data, everything and then you can load spyware / malware to the device to force maintained data flow and connection to the repeater. The malware also allows for full remote access and remote control of the device which also allows for activation of microphones and cameras and recording with [illegible] and still images and screen shots. Technically this is illegal but our government does it all the time on mobile devices every day, to our nations populations. The issue is, this is a good and effective way to monitor traffic for identification of individuals to bust cell phone users / owners with full evidence of violations. Option Three: Allow cell phone use which A.D.C. will never do in spite of the benefits because of the security risk and the ability to record A.D.C. violations and report them. Owning and having a cell phone is not illegal but some of what it will be used for in here is. In truth, this options will never be allowed. Option Four: Allow a controlled monitored cell phone that goes through an organization like Secure Us. I would be no different then having one of the tablets and they can fully monitor and control the device and its uses. They could include a camera on it to be able to send picture messages and for video calls / visitations on the device. This would allow for the removal of the pointless old wall phones and the wall kiosk and would promote phone and message service use. As for the facility being scared, don't do "bad" things and you won't have to worry about it. But the message has to go through SecureUs anyways. Anything inappropriate can result in appropriate disciplinary action. This would be the best option to use though better security should be normal. In the end, A.D.C. and all prisons must face and accept the fact that they must embrace cell phone use of the appropriate type because it's coming no matter if it is liked or not. This is the direction everything is going and the inmate requests / grievances and even commissary can be integrated into this as well. Last, unless employee security is tightened and inmate security is appropriately followed, cell phones will always be a security issues in prisons.

Author: Brownell, Charles A.

Author Location: Arkansas

Date: January 17, 2019

Genre: Essay

Extent: 7 pages

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