Obama signs prison cell-phone prohibition law
President Barack Obama this week signed into law the Cell Phone Contraband Act, which makes it illegal for inmates in federal prisons to possess cell phones and creates penalties for those who provide cellular devices to inmates.
Under the new law, cell phones are classified as contraband material in federal prisons, because many inmates have used wireless device to continue criminal activities while incarcerated.
“Now that this bill has become law, prison gangs will no longer be able to use cell phones to direct criminal attacks on individuals, to decide territory for the distribution of drugs, or conduct credit card fraud,” Sen. Diane Feinstein, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a prepared statement. “It is my hope that this new law will help put an end to this criminal activity and punish those who would profit from smuggling cell phones and other wireless devices into our federal prisons.”
Preventing prisoners from using wireless devices to commit crimes like credit-card fraud or to orchestrate criminal activities beyond the prison facility has been a matter of considerable debate on Capitol Hill. A bill that would allow jamming of commercial wireless signals in prisons passed the Senate last year but has not received much support in the House.