SACRAMENTO – To address the problem of cell phones being smuggled into prisons and used by inmates to commit additional crimes, on Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 26.
The bill, authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D – Los Angeles), makes it a misdemeanor for prison guards or visitors to smuggle cell phones into prisons. Penalties can include up to six months of prison time and fines of up to $ 5,000 for each illegal device that is in their possession; for inmates, early credits of up to 180 days may be lost.
The Governor also signed Executive Order B-11-11, which authorizes CDCR officials to take additional preventative steps to resolve the problem of contraband cell phones being smuggled into prisons. These preventatives steps include increased physical searches of people who enter prisons, the disruption unauthorized cell phone calls, and the use of both canines and state-of-the-art technology to find and confiscate these contraband devices.
Inmates who gain possession of smuggled cell phones have been known to use the devices to continue organizing gang activity, commit or coordinate crimes, and harrass victims.