SAN FERNANDO VALLEY (KCBS) — A Southern California lawmaker plans to re-introduce legislation next week that would make it a felony for anyone caught delivering a cell phone to a state prisoner.
The action comes in the wake of a Los Angeles Times expose that found more than 8,500 incidents in which inmates were caught with telephones while in their cells. Among them was the notoriously convicted cult leader, Charles Manson, who reportedly had been sending text messages to people as far away as British Columbia.
State Senator Alex Padilla says the technology is being used behind bars to order “hits” on people, intimidate witnesses, and to move drugs.
“For those trying to smuggle one in, I believe it should be a felony,” said Padilla.
According to the state senator, the last version of California’s bill had a base penalty of $5,000 per device which when you add on the surcharges and local fees translates to about $18,000 per device.
“It’s got to be a significant deterrent to have an impact,” added Padilla.
Currently, it’s not against the law for cell phones to be used inside of prison, but it is against prison rules.
Padilla has authored three similar pieces of legislation all of which have failed.
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