Bill to ban cell phones in prisons advances

Thursday, 21 May 2009
The Senate gave final approval to legislation late Wednesday night to ban cell phones from prisons.  Sen. Don Barrington is author of Senate Bill 1064 and says keeping cell phones out of prisons will make them safer.

“The concern isn’t about those working in the facilities, but the prisoners themselves and their visitors.  There have been numerous cases of prisoners harassing their victims and the families of law enforcement personnel, not to mention continuing their drug cartel businesses from behind bars,” said Barrington, R-Lawton.  “They need to be cut off.  They’re allowed to make phone calls on facility phones so there’s no need for cell phones except for trouble, and that needs to stop.”

Under the new law, which will go into effect as soon as it is signed, it will be a felony to bring a cell phone or any electronic digital transmission device, without permission, into a facility where prisoners are located.  Violators will be guilty of a felony punishable with up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.  The new law will also pertain to prisoners found with such devices in their possession.  Currently, this crime is a misdemeanor.  

“As I’ve said before this is common sense legislation.  We already ban several items from prisons because they can be used as weapons.  I believe cell phones are one of the more dangerous weapons since prisoners are using them to harass their victims and others as well as continue to be involved in organized crime,” said Barrington.  “I hope the Governor signs this bill quickly so we can put a stop to these types of crime.”

Numerous items are already banned from prisons including guns, knives, controlled dangerous substances, alcohol, tobacco products, and money.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 May 2009 )