Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Blessing And A Curse?

We are constantly fighting the cell phone thing here. I'm willing to bet that if we tried hard enough we could find two a week at least. And the problem has become prevalent enough that they are starting to prosecute (or at least recommend for prosecution) any inmate caught with a cell phone.

I'm sure you've heard some of the stories. How they set up drug deals or contract for murders or run their criminal organizations from inside the prison. Or harass their victims or threaten them if they show up for court, etc... Even plan escapes while still inside.

It's a real problem and I don't see any viable solution other than searching, searching searching...

But for once, the cell phone thing worked out well.

A group of hardened murders and rapists in a prison in South Carolina overpowered a corrections officer with prison made weapons and kept him hostage in a closet for five hours.

A couple of other inmates who wanted nothing to do with what was going down managed to call outside with contraband cell phones and alert authorities to where the officer was being held. A SWAT team was sent in and managed to free the officer quickly without him getting hurt any further.

Luckily, he got away with only a few lacerations and bruises after his ordeal.

You can read the whole story here: Saved By Contraband Cell Phones.

For once the dang things did something good instead of causing harm.

But those scumbags who took the officer hostage may have been also communicating outside with cell phones to get someone from outside to help them escape. We don't know.

At least this time it had a happy ending.


  1. This is an interesting post, Rev. I just finished a piece of fiction ( Freak, by Jennifer Hillier) and her story centred around cell phones in prison. The culprit was an actual CO (he was having a thing with a female inmate) and he actually gave her a phone.

    At first I thought, can't be, but now, reading your piece, I this something that happens?

    Nonetheless, it seems like any officer that has to go through what this fellow went through deserves some serious compensation.

    I'm going to check out your link to the curiosity is piqued.

    1. Thanks for the link - I just read it.

      Now, another question, how do they (the prison folks) not notice these phone? Please forgive the nosiness but when I see this stuff on TV shows there's always a tower in the middle of the yard which never misses a beat. (that's the problem with fiction and TV, it never portrays what it's like in the "real" world.

      Quite do you do it (your job) day and and day out without wanting to "off" some of these characters. Just wondering...

    2. Jenny- In answer to your first two questions: yes and yes. Unfortunately we do occasionally find staff having a "thing" with an inmate and they do sometimes bring them cell phones.

      And for the most part they don't wander around the yard yacking. If they talk they do it quietly alone in their cells or sometimes stand up at the real phone and hide the cell phone that way. Or if they are out on the yard they sit quietly at a bench with their hands in their lap and send text messages when nobody is looking. Clever little punks, some of them.

      And, to tell the truth, hardly a day goes by that I don't have to resist the urge to stomp a mud hole in one of these snapheads. I just grit my teeth and think about my paycheck and go on.

  2. Isn't there technology that jams cell phone signals. I think some facilities use it around sensitive equipment. (Or maybe I just saw this on some TV show).

    1. Pudge- Localized signal maskers are allowable around sensitive equipment but they only have a range of a few feet. The broadband wide range jammers are illegal in this country. Unfortunately. Almost every other country in the world uses them in their prisons but us. But I think that is going to change soon. There is legislation in the making.

      And welcome to my mess. Feel free to look around. (grin)

  3. Pudge, IIRC there are devices to jam cell phone signals but the FCC prohibits their usage in most cases. I would think an exception would be made for prisons, but go figure.

    1. Joe- Some states are working on that. I hope it comes true soon.

  4. The picture looks like someone took a page from The Shawshank Redemption. Actually, it looks like they took several pages out of a hymnal ;D

    But you know it's sad that they can't even be trusted to have cell phones or limited internet access to the outside world. It's like in school when they talk about a few jerks ruining things for everyone. Prison seems like that same principle taken to the nth power and beyond. What a bunch of idiots!

    1. I suppose though, when you really come down to it and when you really get past all the nonsense about punishment and "rehabilitation", a prison is essentially just a place for keeping people who can not be trusted... like... at all.

    2. Bryan- They can't even be trusted to get and send mail, but we have no choice there.

      When it comes right down to it, you can't trust an inmate with a wet book of matches.