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Zapping cellphones in prison

July 22, 2009 |  4:00 am
Pigeon
A carrier pigeon was used in an attempt to smuggle a cellphone into a Brazilian prison. Credit: Associated Press
The house phone in the big house is, all too often, of the cellular variety.

Prison officials say cellphones are being used by inmates to secretly run criminal empires -- and even order up murders -- on the outside. Smuggling the little phones into prisons has proved all too easy.

They've come in with visitors and by slingshot over the walls, and this month prison guards in Brazil discovered an exhausted carrier pigeon that was carrying a little backpack with a phone inside.

So if you can't beat 'em, you might as well zap 'em. A bill making its way through the U.S. Senate would allow prison officials to use jamming devices to make the wireless phones useless inside the walls.

In other words, a cell would no longer work inside a cell.

-- David Colker

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