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Jul 20, 2010 7:37 PM by Greg Boyce

Bill would outlaw inmate cell phones in federal prisons

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has passed a bill that bans inmates from using or possessing cell phones in federal prisons.

A similar bill already has passed the Senate. Congress is trying to crack down on the smuggling of cell phones into federal prisons, where they can be used to direct criminal activities both inside and outside prison walls. The bill approved by the House on Tuesday night would classify cell phones as contraband material. Currently, the devices are not specifically defined as contraband, and inmates and guards caught smuggling them into prisons are rarely punished. One report says inmates pay up to $1,000 for a cell phone. It cites a case where a correctional officer made $150,000 by smuggling phones to inmates.

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