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Cell Phones In Prison

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In most detention centers and prisons, mobile phones are considered contraband and may be confiscated if found to be in prisoner’s possession. If you’re lucky, that’s the limit of your punishment. But just because something isn’t allowed doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Phones inside lockups are popular for much of the same reason they are popular outside. It’s a fun and useful tool for work and communication.

Keri Breakinger writes: Extensive use of mobile phones found by inmates:

Most of what I know about illegal electronics comes from the press providing example after example of all the bad things people can do with smuggled phones, such as drug trafficking, blackmailing, and committing fraud. We got it from releases and news articles. It’s true that these things can happen, but over the past three years, we’ve seen many people using their phones permanently. Some use them to self-publish books or take online college classes. Or write a legal overview. ,” a man in a South Carolina prison told me.

In addition to communication, activism and journalism, mobile phones are popular because they can be used especially for profit (the peculiarities of the prison economy help, not hinder).

Smuggled cell phones cost around $300 to $6,000, but the devices themselves can be out of pocket, as many prisoners use them to make money. One of him, a Texas prisoner I interviewed, was selling his artwork online, while another inmate used his cell phone to learn how to trade stocks and gig his work online. Say you learned how to do More generally, I know people who use their mobile phones to get jobs as freelance writers. You may read their stories and not even know the authors wrote from prison. One man explained that even expensive contraband phones can be cheaper and more reliable than communicating in an approved manner.

“Typewriter ribbons here are exorbitant,” explained one federal prisoner. “Talk-to-text makes writing articles so much cheaper, even including phone bills and billing plans.” Some make money by charging people to use them as hotspots. Connect your tablet to the internet. “He can buy hotspot time for $1 a day,” one southern state inmate told me. “One dollar is two bowls of ramen, and that’s how you pay.”

However, the most common use of phones in jails and jails is to keep in touch with friends and family outside.

When the California inmate I spoke to got his first phone about ten years ago, the first thing he did was call his wife and ask him to talk to his son, he said. Told. That kind of regular use, he said, is why most people in prison want a phone.

“I mean, there are people who have legitimate concerns about having a phone, and they might want to order a hit,” he said. “But in prison where I am, all I want to order is pizza.”


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