Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed SB 26 and Executive Order B-11-11, to help deprive criminals and gang leaders in California's prisons of one of their favorite means of organizing criminal activity: the contraband cellular phone. Brown said these measures would help "break up an expanding criminal network" that uses cellular phones to plan crimes both inside and outside of prison walls.
"Prisons exist to remove individuals from our communities who would otherwise do harm to their fellow citizens," said Governor Brown. "When criminals in prison get possession of a cell phone, it subverts the very purpose of incarceration. They use these phones to organize gang activity, intimidate witnesses and commit crimes. Today's action will help to break up an expanding criminal network and protect law-abiding Californians."
Existing law prohibits all unauthorized communication with inmates in state prison and provides for accumulation, loss, or denial of time credits based on inmate behavior. SB 26 by Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) strengthens this by making it a misdemeanor to deliver or attempt to deliver a cell phone to an inmate, punishable by six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines per device. Furthermore, the bill specifies a loss of time credit for inmates found in possession of phones, and facilitates deployment of technologies to block or disrupt unauthorized cellular transmissions from prisons.
Executive Order B-11-11 complements this legislation by mobilizing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to use existing resources to crack down on the prison cell phone problem. The order calls for an increase in physical searches of people who enter prisons, development of technologies to disrupt unauthorized transmissions and a report on the feasibility of creating "airport-style" security at all prison entrances.
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