Cell phones in prison? Really?

LAKE ARROWHEAD STATE PARK, Texas — I know I am missing something, but I have to offer this rant nevertheless.

My wife and I are parked overnight in this state park. While relaxing in our RV, I heard a news report about a prison riot in South Carolina. Seven inmates died in the stab fest.

Officials blame “illegal cell phones” for the riot that became a battle over territory inside the maximum-security lockup.

Illegal cell phones? What does that mean? Oh, I guess it means the inmates acquired them through mail that had been sent to them from The Outside.

Let me think about this. If I were King of the World, here’s what I would do:

I would confiscate every piece of electronic equipment inside the prison.

I would start by ordering prison security officers to enter every cell in the lockup, strip-search every inmate, tear their bedding apart if need be and look for these cell phones.

Then I would set up a sort of “extreme screening” of every piece of mail that comes into the prison. Every package would get opened and examined for contraband. Cell phones constitute “contraband.”

These individuals broke serious state laws in South Carolina. They sacrificed most of their rights. Sure, they deserve some rights as citizens. They do not deserve to be subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment.” The deserve to live in quarters that allow them a modicum of space; Texas prisons were put under a federal court control over that issue, if you’ll recall.

Living in a cell-phone-free zone, though, doesn’t qualify as “cruel” or “unusual” in this context.

There you have it. Rant is over.

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