Fighting Cell Phone Smuggling in NJ Prisons [AUDIO]
For years New Jersey has been waging a war against cell phone smuggling in prisons. Now after a series of security upgrades, the state is making progress.
In 2013, 73 smuggled cell phones were confiscated. Those numbers used to be in the hundreds according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
“Anybody who enters the secure perimeter of a prison, and that includes vendors and staff, has to pass through a scanner similar to what you’d go through at an airport,” said Matt Schumann, a spokesman for the DOC.
In addition, Schumann said cameras are strategically placed throughout all prisons and specially trained canines are being utilized to detect cell phones. The DOC is also using an electronic detection device known as a Boss chair that scans inmates to determine whether a cell phone is hidden in a body cavity.
“Inmates have tried a variety of creative schemes to get cell phones into a jail. There have been instances where people have been caught throwing cell phones over the wall of a prison to an area, such as a recreation area that inmates have access. The inmates are going to be creative – it’s our job to try to stifle that creativity,” Schumann said.
Cell phones are considered extremely valuable in prison because cell phone calls can’t be monitored the way regular prison calls are, which means gang members can use them to direct activities on the outside. Also, most cell phones have cameras, which can be used to take pictures inside a prison thereby creating a security threat.
“We’ve put signs up all over our prisons reminding people that anybody who is caught smuggling a cell phone is going to be arrested and prosecuted,” Schumann said.