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California prison system signs pact to block cellphones
By sacbee.com - Sam Stanton
Published: 04/17/2012

State corrections officials say they have come up with a no-cost plan to stop the illegal use of cellphones inside prisons by inmates, a problem that has plagued the prison system for years.

Corrections officials announced Monday that Global Tel Link has been awarded a contract for inmates to use the company's service to make calls from each prison's authorized telephone system.

The company will receive revenue from those phone calls and will use the proceeds of that deal to install systems to block unauthorized cell signals at prisons, including phone calls, text messages, emails and attempts to access the Internet.

The system was tested last year at two prisons over an 11-day period for about eight hours a day, officials said, and blocked more than 25,000 unauthorized cell signals.

The use of contraband cellphones by inmates has exploded in recent years. Officials say that they confiscated 1,400 phones in 2007, and that last year that number had grown to more than 15,000 phones.

So far this year they have found 2,181 contraband phones, with inmates using smartphones to contact people outside prisons, communicate with other inmates or set up Facebook pages.

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