Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 6, 2013

Ind. House bill would impose prison phone fine

The Associated Press

Indianapolis — The Indiana House has approved a bill that would impose fines of up to $10,000 on people caught smuggling cellphones to state prison inmates.

The House voted 98-0 Tuesday in favor of the bill, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Republican State Rep. Tom Dermody of LaPorte tells The Times of Munster that inmates use cellphones to harass their victims, for drug trafficking and for gang activity. The Department of Correction has seized more than 8,000 phones in state prisons since 2006.

Dermody's bill would also make inmates caught with a cellphone eligible for a Class A misdemeanor charge. Prisoners caught with contraband phones are currently written up for a rules infraction.