Tag Archives: contraband

$11M Prison Managed Access Jamming Called “A Complete And Utter Waste Of Money”

managed-access-jamming-failureA cautionary tale for prisons contemplating shelling out millions of dollars for managed access systems to jam contraband cell phones. A prison in New Zealand has spent over $11M (US) in installation and upgrades on a cellular signal jamming system that has not prevented the ongoing use of wireless devices.

Taxpayers have forked out $17 million on cellphone jamming technology for prisons – but inmates continue to be caught with increasing numbers of contraband mobile phones.

Despite a network blocking system designed to stop Mt Eden prisoners using cellphones, footage of a “fight club” found its way out of the Auckland jail and on to social media.

Serco confirmed a cellphone was found during a full search of Mt Eden prison on Monday.

Corrections found 284 of the banned devices in the country’s prisons in the 2013-14 financial year.

The previous financial year the department found 274 cellphones unlawfully held by prisoners or brought in by visitors. It also confiscated 119 phone batteries, 128 chargers and 151 SIM cards.

Corrections’ cellphone jamming system cost a budget-blowing $10.9m to install between 2007 and 2009.  It budgeted $5.7m and nearly $6.7m has been spent since, including almost $2.3m in the first five months of last year on a systems upgrade. That followed a $1.3m spruce-up in 2011, according to records released under the Official Information Act.

Yet it does not seemed to have curbed prisoners’ efforts to smuggle them in – and they would not bother if the phones didn’t work, prison drug and alcohol counsellor Roger Brooking said.

A prison intelligence report this year showed Killer Beez founder Josh Masters was continuing to lead the street gang and arrange drug supply from his prison cell using a smuggled cellphone.

Last year convicted murderer Buddy Campbell used a cellphone to post selfies to his Facebook page while an inmate in Rimutaka prison.

Inmates had previously told Brooking they exploited loopholes, finding they could connect to 2 Degrees when it was first launched, he said.

Brooking said keeping cellphones out of prisoners’ hands to protect the public was a “valid concern”, but $17m could have been better spent on healthcare and counselling.

“I think it’s a complete and utter waste of money.”

The jammers were designed to block cellular access to the internet, Corrections said.

But it would not comment on whether mobile network bands 3G and 4G were covered, saying revealing the information would provide insight to prisoners and their associates.

Corrections national commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot said cellphones were banned to prevent prisoners organising crime, harassing victims and perverting the course of justice.

The department was constantly responding to telecommunications industry evolution in its efforts to keep the public safe.

Current prisoner Arthur Taylor contacted Fairfax to say he was concerned about the cellphone jammers’ radiation, claiming he could see 10 of the devices stationed on his block.

Asked if he thought the jammers worked, Taylor replied: “Cellphone finds were well down before the jammers arrived – due to other security measures.”


Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Skate To Where The Puck Is Going To Be

prison-technology-innovation-meshDETECTInnovation, especially technology innovation, requires a willingness to challenge accepted approaches to problems as well as entrenched industry “truths”. This nontraditional thinking is best captured by a quote from hockey great Wayne Gretzky, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Back in June of 2011, we issued a press release announcing the introduction of the meshDETECT Secure Prison Cell Phone Solution. In the press release we said, “The meshDETECT™ secure cell phone platform devalues the contraband value of the smuggled prison cell phone and immediately creates a safer, more secure, and controllable environment for both corrections officials and detainees.” Since then we have written extensively about why contraband cell phones are a problem of both supply and demand. And about how enhanced access to telecommunications services has the proven, significant, additional benefits of reducing recidivism, improving detainee behavior and increasing officer safety.

This was not the conventional view on solving the significant and growing problem of contraband cellphones in prison at the time. In fact, many in the industry thought we were crazy for proposing giving detainees a “cell phone”.

However, according to the August 2014 issue of eTechbeat, an online magazine published by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC); the Indiana Department of Correction is now allowing inmates in two of their facilities to use cordless phones in their cells in an effort to stem recidivism and contraband cellphones and encourage better behavior while incarcerated.

In the article, INDOC Deputy Commissioner James Basinger is quoted saying, “Inmates are allowed to walk around with the phones and take them to their cells to have a phone conversation out of hearing from other inmates, which could lessen inmates’ desire for cellphones. Although inmates use contraband cellphones for criminal activity, not all inmates want them for that purpose. I think it’s a way to combat the contraband cellphone problem. In my opinion, part of the interest in cell phones is you can talk to family and friends in a private setting and are not standing up at the wall with other inmates. We want to encourage communication. Inmates with more contact with family and friends may behave better. It’s all about improving communication . It seems like a good way to improve their reintegration. If they keep connected to the family it might make them stay out of prison when they get out. We are trying to get them out and to be productive.”

Sound familiar?

Cordless phones are not a scalable or cost effective solution, but we believe this is yet another data point proving what we have been preaching. Innovation can be a lonely skate, but eventually you get to the puck.

Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Few Consequences For Texas Prison Cell Phone Smuggling

texas-prison-cell-phoneA Texas Tribune investigation has found that few inmates or correctional officers face legal consequences for smuggling cellphones even as prison officials have intensified efforts to keep the devices out of prisons. Just 5 percent of cellphone smuggling cases investigated by the Criminal Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General from 2009 to 2013 resulted in a criminal sentence, according to documents obtained from the office through a public information request.

Some notable excerpts from the article:

In 2003, legislators made smuggling the devices into prisons a felony. Since 2009, the state has allocated $10 million every two years for “security enhancements for contraband interdiction,” said Robert Hurst, a Criminal Justice Department spokesman.

The enhancements include a special K-9 unit responsible for sniffing out cellphones, increased video surveillance of guards and the addition of “managed access systems” at two prisons that intercept all but a few specified outgoing cellular signals.

The costs of the offender telephone service are “so high, that’s one of the reasons why inmates turn to cellphones,” said Michele Deitch, a prisons expert at the University of Texas at Austin. “They really need the phone access, which promotes healthier families, but at those rates it becomes an incredible burden on the families.” A phone call with the service costs up to 26 cents per minute.

For guards, who risk their jobs and felony charges by dealing in contraband, the financial reward can be much larger than their salaries.

“The temptation is there, if there’s not a strong deterrent to misbehavior,” said Pelz, the former warden, adding that a smuggled cellphone can fetch up to $3,000. “Your weakest link is the employees bringing the contraband in.”

Lance Lowry, president of the Texas correctional employees local of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Emlpoyees union, said many who resort to smuggling were trying to supplement low wages. Entry-level correctional officers make about $29,000 a year. At that rate, one cellphone could amount to 10 percent of an officer’s annual salary.

Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Prisoners At HMP Birmingham To Be Given In-Cell Phones

HMP-Birmingham-Winson-Green-prison Following a trend in the UK, another prison will install in-cell phones. According to the article, the reasons for this deployment are positive impact on prisoners’ rehabilitation, encouraging the maintenance of family ties, and reducing the prevalence of illegal mobile phones.

Prisoners will have phones installed in their cells under new plans for a Midland prison. The move at HMP Birmingham, which takes inmates from across the Black Country, comes despite a law being introduced last year which made it a crime for inmates to have mobile phones behind bars.

Security firm G4S, which runs the Winson Green prison, is introducing the phones because staff say it can have a ‘positive impact on prisoners’ rehabilitation’.

Prisoners will only be allowed to dial numbers approved by the prison, and each inmate will have to pay their own call charges. Their conversations can also be recorded or listened to for security purposes.

The prison, which has a capacity of 1,450 male adults, already allows inmates to have televisions in their cells at the cost of £1 a week per cell.

It has also emerged that HMP Oakwood in Wolverhampton, had cell phones fitted when it was built in 2012. G4S spokesman Michael Baker said: “Our experience is that in-cell phones can have a positive impact on prisoners’ rehabilitation, not only encouraging the maintenance of family ties, but reducing the prevalence of illegal mobile phones.”

He added: “New prisons are built with in-cell phones and although HMP Birmingham dates back to 1849, we are introducing them into the establishment. Access to telephones, like any other privilege, is dependent on prisoners’ continued good behaviour.”

In March last year the Crime and Security Act was passed which stated that prisoners risked extra time being tagged onto their sentences if they were caught with a mobile phones. It aimed to cut down on prisoners keeping in touch with their criminal contacts while inside.

But in the first eight months of the new laws there were 109 prisoners found with phones at HMP Birmingham, 38 convicts had phones at HMP Featherstone and two at HMP Oakwood.

There are no plans to introduce the phone system in HMP Featherstone which neighbours Oakwood.

Last year it emerged that a permanent police team has been based at Winson Green prison to crack down on drugs being thrown over its walls to inmates.

Two detectives and two intelligence specialists are based behind bars, to stop banned substances being smuggled into the prison and thrown over walls.

The force says it is cheaper to base staff there permanently, despite G4S being on a multi-million pound contract to run the jail, as it stops officers being repeatedly called in to tackle crime.

It comes after 236 occasions of contraband goods, including drugs and mobile phones, some stuffed in tennis balls or footballs, being thrown over HMP Birmingham’s walls in 2011.

G4S, has also fitted netting over exercise yards to stop throw-over attempts hitting the ground.


Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

meshDETECT® Awarded Notice Of Allowance From The United States Patent And Trademark Office

meshDETECT registered logo jpgmeshDETECT® is pleased to announce that it has recently received a notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a patent application entitled, “System and method for controlling, monitoring and recording of wireless telecommunications services in penal institutions” covering its Secure Prison Cell Phone Solutions™. A notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a written notification that a patent application has cleared internal review and is pending issuance.

The application broadly covers systems and methods of providing incoming and outgoing telecommunications services to persons incarcerated in penal facilities. A plurality of controls is provided that may reduce contraband devices and encourage good behavior by detainees, penal employees, and others. Portable electronic devices, primarily mobile telephones, are provided to detainees that have exhibited acceptable behavior and are not determined to be security risks.

Contraband mobile telephones have become an increasing problem in prison facilities, further reducing prison facility inmate communications services earnings, compromising safety and presenting opportunities for prison employee corruption. While prison officials have taken steps to reduce contraband cell phones, the expanded capabilities of small portable devices have made such devices more valuable to detainees. This has increased economic incentives for penal employees to facilitate the smuggling and trafficking of these devices in prisons. With a contraband mobile device that has Internet access, a detainee may view telephone directories, maps and photographs for criminal purposes. Gang violence and drug trafficking are increasingly being managed online, allowing persons in penal facilities to continue engaging in criminal activity while incarcerated. Traditional solutions such as blocking or jamming cell phone signals have proven impractical.

meshDETECT® is a technology platform that can be offered in any prison interested in the smart deployment and management of secure prison cell phones – which promotes improved detainee behavior and increases officer safety. Best of all, there is no deployment cost. In fact, meshDETECT is a new source of revenue for prisons.

Prisons longer need to incur the expense and deployment challenges of wireless jamming technology, now that prison cell phone calls can now be monitored and recorded. Legitimate prison cell phone inventories can now replace contraband cell phones.

Update (7/2/13):
The meshDETECT patent (#8,478,234) was issued today by the United States Patent Office. You can view the patent here: meshDETECT Patent

Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Wireless Prison Payphone™ Briefs

wireless-prison-payphoneHere is the latest summary of recent news articles regarding contraband cell phones in prisons around the world. I am calling this round up of articles, “Wireless Prison Payphone™ Briefs” because this is essentially what smuggled mobile phones in jails have become – a substitute for the current wall mounted prison payphones.

Alabama Inmates With Illegal Cell Phone Active On Facebook: “Cell phones are against the law, that’s a new bill that just passed last year, making the possession, or the introduction of a cell phone into a prison setting a class C felony,” Corbett explains, though he still is not surprised by the discovery.

“Last year we confiscated more than 5,000 cell phones statewide.” The Department also has a policy against inmates using social networks. It’s clearly posted on the DOC’s website that such sites “are a security violation and will be shut down.” (Source)

Cat Caught Smuggling Saw, Cell Phone, Into Prison: The cat’s out of the bag, and that means prisoners at a prison in northeast Brazil will no longer have easy access to cell phones and saws.

Upon inspection, officials noticed that the feline was wrapped with tape. Underneath that tape was a battery of items including a saw, cell phone, drills, an earphone, memory card, batteries, and a phone charger. (Source)

Fourth Circuit to Hear Dispute Over Cell Phone Contraband Conviction: Here’s the issue: Did Beason have “fair and sufficient notice” that his possession of a mobile phone opened him up to criminal liability? Beason’s attorneys, Brian Kornbrath and Kristen Leddy, who work for federal public defender offices in West Virginia, contend the old law is unconstitutional for its vagueness. A cell phone, the attorneys said, “has a legal purpose and productive uses, which can carry over to the prison environment.”

“The vast majority of cell phone possession cases in federal prisons have been resolved through administrative sanctions within prisons, not in federal courts,” Beason’s lawyers said in a brief in the Fourth Circuit. “Beason was not given sufficient notice that his possession of a cell phone would subject him to federal criminal penalties.” (Source)

How Cell Phones Make Prison Drug Dealing Easy: Despite a lack of resources and an isolated consumer base, US correctional facilities host a thriving drugs market. But the limitations and monitoring imposed on the use of prison phones are an obstacle. “You can’t set up nothing on the regular prison phones because they are monitored,” one prisoner tells The Fix. “They record everything and when you are trying to make a move, you don’t want no one eavesdropping on your conversations so that they can make a bust or put the brakes on.” The solution isn’t hard to imagine: “With cell phones it is easy. No one is listening and you can talk freely. Once you got a cell phone, anything is possible.”

Of course, cell phones retail at a premium behind bars: Prisoners will pay up to $1,500 for one. But they’re not that difficult to find. “If you have money you can get a phone easy; you can get an iPhone with Internet access or whatever,” the prisoner says. (Source)

Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SIM And microSD Cards In Contraband Cell Phones

A good article below about the forensic value of a confiscated contraband prison cell phone. One clarification, however: A SIM card is not the same as a microSD card – referred to in the article as a data card. The microSD card used in most smart phones is similar to a USB storage device for your PC in that it is used to store user determined data such as documents, pictures, media, etc.

A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card is a portable memory chip used mostly in cell phones that operate on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network. These cards contain up to 128KB of available memory for storing the personal information of the account holder, including his or her phone number, address book, text messages, and other phone related data.

SIM cards store network-specific information used to authenticate and identify subscribers on the network. The most important of these are the ICCID, IMSI, Authentication Key (Ki), Local Area Identity (LAI) and Operator-Specific Emergency Number. The SIM also stores other carrier-specific data such as the SMSC (Short Message Service Center) number, Service Provider Name (SPN), Service Dialing Numbers (SDN), Advice-Of-Charge parameters and Value Added Service (VAS) applications. SIM cards do not store media.

SIM cards are only present in the GSM phones of carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology that does not require a SIM card.

Here’s a scenario that involves a triumph in contraband control. Suppose that through vigilance, shared observations and patience, you have uncovered the most insidious of contraband. You have found a smart phone inside the walls.

This is very good news, as it takes out of circulation a dangerous recorder and communicator. Firm in the knowledge that “information is knowledge,” you and your colleagues have disarmed a potential danger and enhanced safety in the facility.

Celebration seems warranted. However, there is more to do. With the evidence secured and key staff informed, the investigation begins. Some of the follow-up questions are:

• Which prisoner last had the phone?
• Did anyone else have it?
• How does the prisoner maintain a charge on the smart phone?
• Did the offender who had the smart phone work in concert with anyone else? In other words, is this a solo effort or part of a concerted effort through a security threat group?
• How did this smart phone come inside?
• Are there patterns with this incident that may aid in future searches?

With so much information to be gathered, it is easy to overlook one crucial question. Is there a data card with the smart phone?

All that one needs do is open up the phone and remove the mini card, SIM card, SD or whatever one would call it. The name is less important than its utility. The point is that it is a very small and potentially dangerous. And this part of the phone can be removed easily.

Why is this so important? Think of the data card as a removable brain in a mini computer. And this brain can be implanted in many other surprisingly easy to acquire smart phones. How can one describe the amazing storage capacity in something so small? Having all the information in the world on something the size of small coin might not be quite accurate. Still, micro storage technology is such that hundreds of pictures, contacts, texts and other data can be stored on a mini card that is smaller than a penny.

Through the eyes of corrections, let us view the nefarious utilities of data cards. The tiny titan of information storage can hold:

• Incriminating photographs of staff
• A store of all text messages sent and received
• Images that propagate gang activity
• Comprehensive directories of partners in crime
• Images of weak points in our defenses
• Maps
• Lists for store and gambling
• Potential for internet access (granted, this is only under certain circumstances)
• A working social media function

It may be that the information on an easy to hide storage chip is more valuable than the phone itself. This is not to diminish the value of an illegal smart phone in the hands of a prisoner. It just points back to the notion that information is power.

Of course, this does not mean that every micro card that one comes across will contain sensitive information. In fact, the laws of numbers dictate that somewhere and at some time a data card will be found in a jail or prison that contains virtually no useful information in terms of investigation or incrimination.

However, as with any contraband search proposition, it behooves us to continue to search for the danger that is possible. Otherwise, we may overlook a valuable clue.

Author: Joe Bouchard

Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Texas To Invest in Cell Phone Blocking Technology

This article discusses the TDCJ’s decision to investigate the viability of managed access contraband cell phone jamming. California, Mississippi and Maryland are also testing the technology. The impact of smuggled contraband cell phones in prisons has been significant. As the article states, “A couple of years ago, there were long lines at the pay phones—hours long. By this year, no one was using them, there were so many smuggled cell phones.”

Update (3/15/13): Final testing starts next week at the first of two Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons where equipment has been installed to block calls to and from unauthorized phones.

The equipment, known as a managed access system, also diverts text messages, emails and Internet log-in attempts from contraband phones. It should be in full operation at the Stiles Unit outside Beaumont and the McConnell Unit near Beeville next month. The two prisons together hold some 5,000 inmates and historically have been the worst of the more than 100 Texas prisons when it comes to cellphone smuggling.

The managed access systems that are being installed won’t interfere with 911 calls, but they will only other calls and communication only to and from registered devices. The top managers at the prisons will decide which ones can be registered.

“It behaves as a cellular tower,” said Mike Bell, the prison system’s information technology director. “Based on ID numbers, if you’re on authorized list, it allows the call to go through.”

Update (9/7/12): Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told the Senate Criminal Justice Committee at a Capitol hearing 0n 9/4/12 that a “managed-access system” is to be installed by the end of the year at the Stiles Unit in Beaumont and the McConnell Unit in Beeville.

Livingston said the new system will not jam cellphone calls in and around prisons, but will instead intercept all outgoing calls. Only those to numbers that have been pre-approved will be allowed to go through, and the rest “will go to a dead end,” he said.

Livingston said the new managed-access technology is being paid for by Century Link, a private firm that operates pay phones inside Texas’ 111 state prisons. Officials earlier said the system’s cost was about $1 million per prison.

“These two prisons have had the most significant ongoing problems with (smuggled) cellphones, and that’s why they were selected,” Livingston said. “There are no plans at this time to go beyond these two units.”

California and Texas may be considered opposites on the political spectrum, but the two states do have the same philosophy when it comes to cell phones in state prisons.

California got the ball rolling when Global Tel Link agreed to pay millions to install technology in state prisons to block web searches, text messages and phone calls by inmates using smuggled phones.

Texas also saw a problem with its inmates smuggling phones into prison and has recently confirmed working with CenturyLink, a private company that operates pay phones inside Texas’ 111 state prisons, to evaluate installing a similar system in Texas.

“The system would be a managed-access system and does not jam cell phones,” said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

“Managed access intercepts the outgoing calls and only allows calls from approved numbers. This is legal,” Clark said, noting that the Federal Communications Commission prohibits jamming.

Inmates’ access to cell phones in prison can have extreme consequences. Some inmates have used cell phones to run criminal enterprises from behind bars and organize assaults on guards and intimidate witnesses, California prison officials said.

“This groundbreaking and momentous technology will enable [the prison system] to crack down on the potentially dangerous communications by inmates,” said Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matt Cate.

In 2011, California prison guards confiscated more than 15,000 contraband phones. In the same year, Texas prison officials seized 904 cell phones.

The first prison in California is expected to receive Global Tel*Link’s technology by October 2012, according to Dana Simas, information officer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

When the system is installed, each prison will get its own cell tower that will allow prison officials to control all incoming and outgoing calls. All other calls will not go through within the confines of the prison.

“After this system goes in, smuggled cell phones will be nothing more than glorified paperweights,” said Simas. “A couple of years ago, there were long lines at the pay phones —hours long. By this year, no one was using them, there were so many smuggled cell phones.”


Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Working The Jailhouse Black Market

A fascinating article about how contraband cell phones facilitate the prison black market economy. An economy in which even some of the guards are participants. As the article states, “a $20 basic phone earns the guards that sell it an easy $400 to $500…But if you use the phone and sell time off of it to the other inmates, you’ll make your money back in one month.” As we have written before, wireless airtime is the new prison currency.

There is a long and sordid tradition of business going on in American prisons.

The isolated consumer base, the high demand for goods, the excruciatingly limited supply — it’s a hothouse of entrepreneurial finesse, extreme risk — and obscene returns.

The biggest selling items behind bars have always offered a slice of escape. Not a file, or a schematic of the pipes leading outside the gates, but an instant of abandon allowing an inmate to forget about his life and to live outside the walls, if only in his mind.

Until recently that meant drugs, and the slippery trick of allowing the mind to believe it was someplace else, but that has changed.

There are still drugs in prison, but now there’s a better escape that for the enterprising and charming convict may even generate a source of monetary return: smart phones. It’s no secret, prison cell phones are in the news and we wanted to see what we could find out.

To learn more about the “hustle,” what inmates call any moneymaking scheme in prison, we rented a P.O. Box and sent off letters to a handful of American prisoners. Among others we heard from Leon Kingsley (not his real name) who eventually talked to us on a smart phone away from the prying eyes and ears of penal officers. Kingsley says that a $20 basic phone earns the guards that sell it an easy $400 to $500. Kingsley sent us the pictures here to prove what he says is the truth.

“And the police will do it, too, because they get paid very little,” Kingsley, who’s serving a 10-year state sentence and 110-month federal sentence, says “But if you use the phone and sell time off of it to the other inmates, you’ll make your money back in one month.”

“There’s a lot of money in here…a lot of money you can make. If you have a good officer, you can make $4,000 or $5,000 a week.”

If the phone has wireless capabilities, it can cost the prisoner — or their people on the outside — as much as $1,000. With high-speed internet access, Kingsley says the inmates will make Facebook accounts, “meet girls and get them to send money.”

For $50, the inmates can purchase 15 hours of phone time, typically broken up to an hour a day, 30 minutes at a time. Although most inmates use these precious moments to call friends and family, there’s also the opportunity for convicts to contact co-defendants and witnesses — such as the alarm caused when authorities found unauthorized cell phones in convicted serial killer Charles Manson’s property.

Through what Kingsley calls “word on the street,” prisoners usually know which guards will help them bring in contraband, the same way that civilians who want illegal goods know where to go and who to ask.

“You just try them up, you have to get talking to them,” he says.

If the officers agree to deal, the inmates have cash sent in.

Aside from cell phones, anything that you can’t buy at the prison store (commissary) has value on the inside.

Kingsley says a can of Bugler tobacco — which goes for around thirty bucks — can be broken down and sold for $1,200. An ounce of pot that costs $100 “on the streets” will go for $600 or $700 behind bars.

“There’s the weed man, the meth man, whatever you want. And your friends will tell you these things.”

In order to conduct business with one another, the prisoners have credit cards — most of them use Green Dot Reloadable prepaid cards, which their loved ones can purchase at drugstores.

Once the people “on the outside” purchase money packs to put on the prepaid cards, they’ll receive a security code, and the people “on the inside” can use these codes to purchase whatever they want. Their sellers will then call a 1800-number, “give them the code” and have the money downloaded onto their own credit cards.

“A lot of stuff in here is run by the gangs…there’s the Mexican gangs, the Bloods, the Crips. They all run their own shit. They keep their business pretty good and they don’t F*** each other over.”

“They always say that they were already in gangs before coming into prison, but a lot of them are weak people forming up with others so no one runs them over.”

“I mean, I’m not in a gang and I do fine,” he says.

When you’re involved with anything illegal — even if you’re already in jail — you run the risk of “catching” new charges, but Kingsley says he “hasn’t seen it getting done.”

When he was caught with a phone, Kingsley tells us he received a written a disciplinary report (DR), which required him to go to the prison court.

With a D.R. citation, Kingsley says the officers might restrict your commissary privileges, deny you from making legitimate phone calls or receiving mail for 90-days, but most likely, the offender won’t catch new charges because the officers try to “sweep it under the rug.”

“They know the cops are bringing it in, not the prisoners. And they don’t want news of that getting out.”

Kingsley says the officers will do a “clean up,” where they check the cells, twice annually, and confiscate anything unauthorized. This gets expensive for inmates so they hide their contraband, like phones, in food and in “places where [they’ve] cut into the walls,” under boxes and inside furniture if they can manage to take it apart.

“It’s a constant racket for officers to make more money really, because they’ll take our stuff so we can sneak in more stuff and pay them all over again.”

Kinsley shares an open cell with 40 other people. He has about five years left to serve on his sentence.


Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Dogs Trained To Sniff Out Cell Phones

A news report about smuggled cell phone sniffing dogs used in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Highlights from the report include:

  • The dogs spend 9 weeks — 320 hours — learning how to detect cell phones.
  • Contraband wireless phones that can be bought for as little as $40 on the outside go for as much as $800-1,200 on the inside. They’re smuggled in by friends and family during visits, by staff, even purchased during work detail.
  • The dogs are taught to locate and alert DOC officers to four distinct chemicals found in cell phones — ferric chloride, used to etch circuit board, rosin, promotes soldering, epoxy, used to fabricate the printed circuit board and lithium ion, gas from the battery.
  • One dog is stationed in every Arizona state prison, except the Phoenix facility, which is much smaller than the others.


Like it? Share it! facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail