Cell phone crackdowns continue in NJ prisons

August 16, 2009 1:56:06 PM PDT
Tracking down illicit cell phones in New Jersey's prisons and halfway houses remains a daunting task. Nearly 400 phones have been seized since August 2008, when the state started keeping track of confiscations, according to records obtained by The Star-Ledger of Newark. More than a third were found in Northern State Prison in Newark, which houses the state's most dangerous gang members, and four associated halfway houses.

Officials say the problem has worsened in recent years as phone technology has improved. Newer, smaller phones are made with less metal, making them harder to detect.

Cell phones have caused problems in prisons across the country because inmates can use them to secretly communicate with each other, intimidate witnesses and direct illegal activity.

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