Prisoners with mobile phones exposed – thanks to national security alert

Prisoners with mobile phones exposed – thanks to national security alert

Mobile phones all went off at the same time in the US last week


Governments testing out their emergency mobile phone alert systems may have found an unintended new upside from them – rooting out contraband phones in prisons.

The US’s National Wireless Emergency Alerts System was tested on 4 October to find out how effective the country’s mass communication response options are.

Phones, TVs and radios all went off at 2.20pm Eastern Time, including the phones of some prisoners which they had smuggled into their cells.

The alarm also involved a text which read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.

“The purpose is to maintain and improve alert and warning capabilities at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels and to evaluate the nation's public alert and warning capabilities. No action is required by the public."

It either worked in Spanish or English, and was also mirrored on televisions and radios.

For unlucky prisoners, it was not so convenient, however.

A New York State Prison official told TMZ they confiscated two phones at Sing Sing Correctional Facility during the test.

Meanwhile, a source at FCI Coleman Low in Florida said they too confiscated two phones during the event.

And while it is unclear what happened in other states, it would seem the situation likely played out across the country.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said: "The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not elaborate on specific internal security procedures for safety and security reasons."

According to the Tennessee Department of Correction, if someone is caught with a phone in prison, they 'may be charged with a Class E Felony'.

In a post to its website, it explains the felony is 'punishable by fine'.

"A fine of $3,000 will be imposed upon offenders who repeatedly violate this law," it adds.

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