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R.I. Bans Cell Phones In Prison Cells

A new law has been passed to ban cell phones in prison cells in Rhode Island.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Michael J. McCaffrey and Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr. sponsored the bill that makes it illegal for prisoners to possess “any portable electronic communication device.”

Under the new law, inmates caught using a cell phone can be punished by a $5,000 fine, a maximum penalty of five more years added on to their prison sentence, or even both.

However, it’s not currently illegal to possess a cell phone at the ACI, but inmates caught with one could face losing their good behavior credits, which would potentially extend an inmate’s sentence.

The Department of Corrections lobbied for the law, saying that it would increase safety and security at the ACI.

“This new law will prevent inmates in prison from directing crimes behind bars,” said Rep. Johnston (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket).

By creating and implementing the new law, the Department of Corrections is hoping to deter illegal activity from taking place while inmates are still behind bars.

“A prisoner should not have access to any type of cell phone or wireless device for the safety of fellow prisoners, corrections officials and individuals affiliated with the inmate outside of the prison walls,” said Senator McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick).