Cell Phones In Prison Becoming A Concern in Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cell Phones In Prison Becoming A Concern in Washington

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CONNELL, Wash.-- Staff at Coyote Ridge say inmates are not allowed to have cell phones at any time.

But in Texas an inmate was recently found in possession of one. Jail staff say it could happen anytime, and could be a big threat to the community.

On Monday, a corrections officer played the role of an inmate for a demonstration.

"Staff know which sections they're supposed to cover, basically top to bottom, everything in between, you go through every piece of paper, every piece of clothing," said Jeremy Turner, a Corrections Sergeant, at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center.  

Officers search every nook and cranny, looking for any contraband.

"Drugs, weapons, things of a serious nature," said Turner.

The most recent type of contraband are cell phones. David Bailey, Associate Superintendent at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, talks about the potential dangers.

"If they have unmonitored access to communications, they can do everything from run criminal enterprises, to set up hits for folks, assaults, killings, outside or inside the prison," said Bailey.

Inmates are allowed to make calls from inside the prison, but always under a close watch.

"It is really critical that we monitor incoming and outgoing conversations with offenders, except for those that we aren't allowed to legally monitor such as attorney calls," said Bailey.

It's the reason contraband searches are done every thirty days.

"You can turn a toothbrush into a weapon to kill somebody, so we always have to be checking them," said Turner.