By GILLIAN FLACCUS 04/17/12
LOS ANGELES — A private company that owns the pay phones in California’s prisons will pay millions of dollars to install technology that prevents inmates from using smuggled cell phones to make their calls instead.
The deal with Global Tel Link addresses the growing problem of cell phones within the nation’s largest prison system, where the technology has been used by inmates to run criminal enterprises, intimidate witnesses and organize attacks on guards.
The move also comes at no cost to taxpayers because the private firm expects to see demand for its pay phones soar, Dana Simas, a spokeswoman from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Tuesday.
“There are pay phones available on the yards, but if you were to go to them now, there’s no one using them,” she said. “They’re empty and a couple of years ago there were lines hours long.”
Beverly Schumock, an administration manager at Global Tel Link, referred questions to a company e-mail address for media inquiries. No one replied to an e-mail sent Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Global Tel expects to have the blocking technology running at the California State Prison in Solano by the end of the year and at all prisons within three years.
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