Model State Bill Prohibiting Wireless Handsets in Prisons*

Model State Bill Prohibiting Wireless Handsets in Prisons*

Summary: Most prisons prohibit inmates from possessing mobile phones or wireless handsets due to their ability to communicate with the outside world, which raises concerns about prison security. They provide inmates with the ability to send and receive unauthorized phone calls, email and text messages, use social media, and follow news pertaining to their case. They can also be used to plan an escape or coordinate criminal activity. Therefore, mobile phones and wireless handsets are some of the most smuggled items into prisons. This bill aims to curb the smuggling of mobile phones and wireless handsets into prisons for prohibited uses by establishing penalties for smuggling such devices into a prison in a way consistent with many current states laws and policies.

SEC. xx.  PROVIDING OR POSSESSING WIRELESS HANDSETS IN PRISONS.

Chapter __ of title __, Revised Statutes of [State] [prohibiting the provision or possession of contraband in prison], is amended by adding the following:

“SEC. xx.  PROVIDING OR POSSESSING WIRELESS HANDSETS.

“Whoever—

“(1) provides to an inmate of a prison a wireless handset, or attempts to do so; or

“(2) being an inmate of a prison, possesses, obtains, or attempts to obtain, a wireless handset;

“shall be fined as provided under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

“(b) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this section—

“(1) the term ‘prison’ means a State correctional, detention, or penal facility or any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract

or agreement with the Attorney General;

“(2) the term ‘wireless communications service’ means ‘commercial mobile service’ or ‘personal wireless services’ as such terms are defined in section 332 of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 332); and

“(3) the term ‘wireless handset’ means a device utilized by a user of wireless communications service in connection with such service.”

Section 3. {Severability clause.}

Section 4. {Repealer clause.}

Section 5. {Effective date.}

Approved by ALEC Board of Directors on June 6, 2009.

Keyword Tags: Communications and Technology Task Force, Criminal Justice, Wireless