In other news today, a cell phone was found in the posession of a death row inmate in Texas. I just finished a long, drawn-out debate with a person online who had no clue that inmates weren’t allowed to have cellular phones in their cells. Apparently, there are those out there who think this is a right that can’t be taken away and all inmates should be allowed to have phones at taxpayer expense.
Lemme point out how he was caught: he called an as-yet unnamed prominent state senator and told him that he knew where the senator’s daughters lived in a very serious threat. Still think these douchebags should have phones?
There are a number of things inmates aren’t allowed to have. Phones are one of the many. Unfettered access to a phone means that an inmate can call any person he or she wants without anyone being able to decide who they can call. If you’re a surviving victim, would you want the guy who tried to rape and kill you calling you at home? It’s unknown whether any victims were reached, but it’s likely. The inmate, Richard Tabler, shared the phone with nine other inmates. His mother is actually accused of buying minutes for the phone. Get this–it was a corrections officer who accepted a bribe to smuggle it in.
If anyone really wants to know, I’ll talk about what Tabler has been sentenced to death for. The question here is, why is this such a big deal? I’ve already addressed why inmates don’t have phones. I’ve known officers who have accepted bribes to bring in narcotics. I’ve even known a couple who have had sex with inmates. I’ve seen them bring in everything you can imagine, including cellphones. I was riding perimeter patrol one night when 98 KUPD played a phone call from an inmate in MY DAMNED FACILITY over the radio–made on a cell phone smuggled in by an officer who’d been bribed.
I don’t think they should have casette players, DVD or CD players, TV’s, or any of that nonsense in their cells. Having TV’s in the dayrooms/pods is more than enough. They can take these devices apart and make all manner of contraband–not the least of which are cutting tools, shanks, tattoo guns or even homemade firearms. People who’ve never been there don’t understand it. Those who are or have been officers understand it all too well.
I hope that officer is charged with a crime. In a private facility, you can guarantee he wouldn’t have been because of the negative press; this was Texas death row, so it was state-run. The inmates’ mother is already in jail. But I hope that this emphasizes the reality for some of you. When inmates have the items they’re not supposed to have, they can have a dangerously long reach.