Friday, 24 August 2007

“Wow, you’ve got much more serious problems than cell phones."

As Damien O'Connor ponders introducing electronic jamming of cellphones to NZ prisons, Stephen Franks suggests the need to jam cellphones in prisons is evidence of something a little more serious. Explaining this latest move to Arizona prison officials, where he's been on a fact-finding tour on behalf of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, the following exchange ensued.
“How do you deal with the cell phone problem?” I asked.
As I said, they’re not allowed” was the answer.
“But what about smuggled ones” I persisted.
We check them in at the door, and all staff go through the metal detector.”
“No, I mean� cell phones in the hands of prisoners.”
Do you guys give your prisoners cell phones?!
“No - they just get them, perhaps from visitors, or corrupt guards” we explained. “Our Minister of Corrections has simply given up ensuring that they can’t get them. He says it’s the same all over the world.”
Wow, you’ve got much more serious problems than cell phones. Ours simply can’t have them. Don’t you do strip searches? How do you keep out drugs then? What about weapons?"
Weapons? Drugs? Cell phones? Crikey, ours is a prison system in which a NZ prison officer can smuggle in a forty-foot yacht dubbed HMS Corrections for his prisoners to work on. As the Arizona prison officer says, We’ve got much more serious problems than cell phones.


  1. I have experience of this, I'll blog about it next week - Corrections wanted to be able to listen in on all cellphone conversations near prisons so it could figure out which prisoners had one - in a previous job I told them to take a running jump, that from a telecoms policy perspective this would be absurd, and why didn't metal detectors discover this? I asked what was done overseas, Corrections had NO idea. One response was "well we have prisons adjacent to farms and phones just get thrown over the fence" in which case I said "the problem isn't with telecommunications policy it's your own security - go fit it".

    This was under the previous National government.

  2. Here is the solution.

    Cell phones to be OK for prisoners so long as they broadcast the sounds of the rotan biting deep into their flesh during the ceremonial floggings they'll receive for possessing the cell phones in the 1st place.

    Problem all solved.



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