California tries again to thwart prison cellphone smuggling

FeaturesAssociated Press

California is installing nearly 1,000 sophisticated metal detectors and scanners at its prisons in its latest attempt to thwart the smuggling of cellphones.

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Thousands of the illegal phones continue to flood prisons despite officials' previous efforts.

They say the cellphones can be used to coordinate everything from attacks in prison to crimes on the street. But they have been unable to prevent even high-security inmates such as cult killer Charles Manson from repeatedly getting the devices.

So Global Tel-Link, the nation's largest prison phone company, is funding a new approach under a contract from which it receives a projected $17 million each year from California inmates and their families.

That includes deploying hundreds of metal detectors, baggage scanners, X-ray machines, surveillance cameras and scanners that detect magnetic signals.