Texas Prisons Working to Eliminate Cell Phone Use

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BEAUMONT, Texas - Final testing is beginning next week at the first of two Texas prisons to get electronic systems designed to make cell phones smuggled to inmates useless.

The McConnell Unit prison near Beeville in South Texas and the Stiles Unit outside Beaumont are the worst of Texas' more than 100 prisons for contraband phones. Prison officials are hoping a so-called managed access system that intercepts calls from phones not registered for use at the prison will curtail the problem.

Stiles Unit Warden Michael Roesler says he hopes the blocking system will make contraband phones not much more than paperweights.

The phones are problems in prisons nationwide. Officials say inmates use them to plan escapes, run illicit businesses and make threatening calls.