photograph of a CDCR prison

How California is cracking down on illegal cell phone use in state prisons

Inmate Penalties

  • Up to 90 days loss of good time credit

Staff, contractor, visitor penalties

  • Fine of up to $5000 per device
  • Up to 6 months in county jail

Check out the links (at right) for more information on what CDCR is doing to prevent contraband cell phone use in California prisons.


Contraband cell phones are a growing problem in correctional facilities nationwide. The illegal use of these phones circumvents the monitoring processes in prisons, and helps inmates commit new crimes. Since modern cell phones can record video, take photographs, record conversations, and provide Internet access, inmates can use them to coordinate assaults and harass innocent people in the community.

In Fall 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Senate Bill 26 which makes it a misdemeanor to own an unauthorized cell phone in prison, or to try to take one into a prison.  

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