by: Oliver Drews

The use of mobile phones is commonly known to be motivated by the human need to communicate. Restrictions on the duration and time that an inmate is granted access to a usually small number of phones results in limited legitimate contact opportunities.

Contraband cellphones have long been an ongoing security and public safety concern across penitentiary facilities around the world. Dangerous inmates have been known to use illegal cell phones to direct criminal activity despite the fact that they are confined within penitentiary facilities.

Such criminal activity often includes threats to public officials, the planning of escapes, drug dealing, money extortions and witness/victim intimidation. In some cases, more violent crimes such as murder have been known to be ordered using illegal cell phones.

Being in possession of a working mobile phone may also give an inmate an element of power within a prison which can be used for his or her benefit. A cell phone can become a currency to be exchanged, which can contribute to violence, hence perpetuating illegality and insecurity.