As you’re probably aware, cell phones are illegal in federal prisons. The Federal Bureau of Prisons ensures prisoners don’t have cell phones, as this can pose a security risk. Every now and then, prison wardens conduct inspections in cells, and among the items they recover are cell phones. But should some prisons allow inmates to have cell phones? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
Why Cell Phones Are Important to Prisoners
When it comes to prohibiting cell phones in prisons, the government takes this measure for security purposes. But not all prisoners pose a risk. Most simply want to connect with loved ones. Cell phones are like the lifeline that keeps hope alive in a prisoner. When people are hopeless, they tend to be self-destructive and violent. Allowing inmates the chance to connect with their families and friends is good for them. Plus, when they talk to their loved ones regularly, by the time they’re done serving their sentences, they’re likely to have an easy time reentering society.
How Inmates Connect With Loved Ones
Despite inmates not being allowed to have cell phones, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a connection to the outside world. Prisons offer phone service, allowing inmates to reach out to loved ones. Unfortunately, these calls are usually short, which is not enough time for an inmate to talk to a loved one. If your loved one is imprisoned, you can make things easy for them by putting money on the phone for jail calls. This article explains how you can do that to make communication between you and an incarcerated loved one more convenient.
Cell Phones Can Improve the Mental Health of Inmates
Today, 1 in every 50 kids in the United States has their parent in prison. Unfortunately, these kids are more likely to suffer from behavioral disorders compared to kids whose parents haven’t been incarcerated. Just imagine the impact a regular phone call from a parent can have on a child. These kids can share what’s happening in their lives, how they’re performing in school, their problems, etc. This can’t replace physical presence, but it certainly makes things better for both the parent in prison and the child.
Most inmates would prefer to stay in their own cells and talk to their families and friends more than anything else in the world. When you’re isolated from the rest of the world, hearing the voice of your grandchild is a dose of healing. Plus, it’s more time not spent in the yard, which can get violent. It’s also more time spent not agonizing over depression, rage, and frustration. Inmates get to be normal and feel like humans again.
The Prison System Should Try and Encourage Family Connections
Cell phones are usually classified as dangerous devices. When inmates are caught with one, their sentence will be increased, moved to solitary and some of their rights restricted. Understandably, when cell phones get into the wrong hands, they can compromise the security of the facility or even the country. But if managed by tracking calls and monitoring texts, the risk can be less. A humane legal system needs to uphold its commitment to rehabilitating people and treating those locked away with dignity.
Those incarcerated should be able to maintain strong bonds with the loved ones they left behind. Allowing them access to cell phones can easily foster an environment that prevents men and women from committing more crimes.
Certain prisons have contracts with phone service providers, who charge prison inmates a certain amount to talk to their loved ones. But most of the time, these providers are expensive. And considering that inmates don’t earn a lot in prison, it becomes costly for them to make calls. If they had cell phones, their friends and families could add them to their cell phone plans, making communication easier. Also, some prison cell phones don’t have great audio quality. At least with cell phones, they can hear their loved ones well. And as a bonus, their calls won’t have to be interrupted every couple of minutes, being reminded they’re being interrupted.
Cell Phones Aren’t Disruptive
One thing that the prison system may fail to see is that inmates are less disruptive when they have cell phones. They’re likely to cause less chaos in the facility. And if cell phones are monitored, then the authorities can reduce security threats that come with inmates having access to phones.
Prisons should allow inmates to have cell phones. They just need to have regulations in place to monitor communications to stay ahead of threats.