Grassley's Cell Phone Contraband Act signed into law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grassley's Cell Phone Contraband Act signed into law

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WASHINGTON (KWWL) -- Tuesday President Obama signed The Cell Phone Contraband Act into law, a measure sponsored by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from California.

The act closes a loophole in federal law by prohibiting the use or possession of cell phones and wireless devices in federal prisons. It also classifies cell phones and wireless devices as contraband material. Whoever provides or attempts to provide an inmate with a cell phone could face imprisonment of up to one year.

In a press release, Senator Feinstein said, "Now that this bill has become law, prison gangs will no longer be able to use cell phones to direct criminal attacks on individuals, to decide territory for the distribution of drugs, or conduct credit card fraud." 

In the same release,  Senator Grassley said, "This common sense bill, signed into law today, makes sure drug dealers and gang members in federal prisons can't continue conducting their crimes from behind bars... 
Making it illegal for criminals to use cell phones and wireless devices in federal prison cuts their communications link and helps to keep our communities safe."

Currently, cell phones found in prisons are not specifically defined as contraband material. As a result, guards and inmates found smuggling or possessing a cell phone in a federal prison are rarely punished.

In the first four months of 2010, federal prison staff recovered 889 phones from minimum security facilities and 299 phones from secure institutions.

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