How Do Prisoners Obtain Cell Phones?

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This article discusses issues such as hybrid systems, NLJDs and staff smuggling illegally obtained cell phone phones. It also discusses how prisons get around legal phone use laws. Prisons are also ripe for private prisons, which gouge their inmates with overpriced phone time. In addition to securing cell phone technology, inmates also use mail containing phones and other legal documents.


In fact, the NLJD is not designed to be a spy device. Invented by Charles Bovill in the Second World War, it was originally designed to detect corrosion underneath the painted surfaces of airplanes. But after 1968, the NLJD was discovered and used for spying purposes. The CIA developed a special filter for these devices to send the probe signal to the ground.

The UK saw over 20,000 cell phones confiscated by correctional officers, while the Bureau of Prisons took around 8,000. Preliminary figures for 2017 indicate that the number of confiscated phones is set to rise 28 percent. Moreover, the average prisoner does not need the latest gadgets with fancy features. Moreover, they are often paid for the time they spend searching.

Hybrid systems

Hybrid systems are a combination of managed access and detection techniques that help a correctional facility locate contraband cell phone use. The resulting data is a 58-page PDF. It also helps correctional officials monitor communication and behavior within the prison. The Mississippi system was implemented at Parchman state prison in 2010. It reduced the number of intercepted transmissions and confiscated cell phones inside the walls of the prison. Maryland implemented a similar system for 2013.

These systems are based on sophisticated technology. They use signal management codecs to identify and locate a phone call. They also have special equipment to interface with studio equipment. Depending on the level of sophistication, a hybrid system may cost upwards of $10,000. Hybrid systems are also used by prisoners to obtain cell phones. The technology is not only effective at blocking callers, but it can also improve audio quality for on-air callers.

Staff smuggling

Whether it is a prison visit or a family visit, inmates are finding ways to sneak contraband into prisons and access their cell phones. Some inmates are even obtaining contraband from drones that drop them in the prison yard. A prison staff in Miami recently confiscated 50 cell phones in one day. One of the prison’s correctional officers was arrested after trying to sell cell phones and drugs. The BOP manages 122 institutions in the country.

Many prisoners use these phones to keep in touch with friends and family while in prison. Inmates don’t have to pay for the prison-controlled phone system so they can call their relatives from their cell phones. Officials at the prison claim that inmates have used their phones to commit crimes such as murder and assault on other inmates. YouTube videos show inmates wearing blue scrubs and holding their phones. According to corrections officials, the smuggling has resulted in at least $70,000 in lost revenue.

Insider tip: Mail legal documents using a cell phone

Contraband phone smuggling in prisons has become an increasing problem as other means of communication have been shut down, including the mail. Prison administrators have responded by enforcing tight lockdowns and curtailing visitor and other privileges. Prisoners can use their cell phones during these times to coordinate crimes, intimidate witnesses and send offensive photos and messages. Inmates can also use their phones to send and receive messages, bribe prison officers, or plan escapes. Contraband phones are easier to obtain than a phone from a family member or friend.

Prisoners have tried smuggling their cell phones in thick legal documents. Corrections officers can only open regular mail in private, but legal mail from attorneys must be opened in front of inmates. These operations begin by faking documents from a real attorney, and then concealing a phone inside. But a phone hidden inside these documents can be tracked by investigators, which is why it is important to check legal mail carefully.

How Do Prisoners Obtain Cell Phones?
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