State making effort to cut off inmate cell phones

FRESNO, Calif.

Inmates use their phones like everyone else, updating their Facebook statuses and MySpace accounts. Some even have the most recent iPhone 4S.

But some are taking it to another level, terrorizing their victims and ordering hits from inside their cells.

The guards at Corcoran State Prison and the nearby substance abuse treatment facility say they're shutting down more prisoner Facebook pages then they can count. Plus, no one can forget when the notorious murderer Charles Manson called people from his prison cell.

"I've seen the world spinning on fire. I've danced and sang in the devil's choir," Manson said.

"We've already confiscated 121 cellular phones with a value of $181 thousand," Lupe Cartagena of Corcoran California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility said.

That was in the first 4 months of 2012. The state's now decided enough is enough.

Starting this fall, new technology will block cell service inside the prisons, essentially jamming the signals.

"If it's not authorized which the inmates have possession of, they'll be filtered out, intercepted and filtered out," Cartagena said.

Cartagena wishes the technology was already installed. Just recently, one of their guards found an inmate's MySpace profile.

"He was assaulting and raping his victim for three days, and we recently shut down a profile he set up on MySpace he used it to terrorize her, contact her, threaten her," Cartagena said.

In the meantime, while California prisons wait for that new technology they'll rely on dogs, scanners and informants to tip them off to any illegal signals.

The first installation will be in October. After that, the state has until 2015 to put the new technology in all of our prisons.

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