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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 11, 2009

Sen. Don Barrington
Sen. Don Barrington

Senate Approves Ban on Cell Phones in Prisons

Sen. Don Barrington believes Oklahoma's prisons would be safer without cell phones, and the Senate agreed Wednesday approving Senate Bill 1064 banning them and other electronic devices capable of sending or receiving electronic communications from correctional facilities.

"This is an effort to protect our correctional workers and the public. Cell phones are being smuggled in to prisoners and they're getting involved in organized crime as well as harassing their victims from within their cells," said Barrington, R-Lawton. "This is dangerous and wrong. We have to do all we can to keep these people from continuing to commit crimes, and increasing the penalty for bringing cell phones into these facilities or for prisoners being found in possession of them is one way we can accomplish that."

Under SB 1064, bringing such devices into a jail, state penal institution or other place, without authority, where prisoners are located would be a felony punishable with up to two years in prison, a fine not exceeding $2,500 or both. The new law would also pertain to prisoners found with such devices in their possession.

"This is common sense legislation. There are already a number of items that are banned from prisons because they can be used as weapons, and with cell phones being used to commit crime I believe this is one of the worst weapons for these criminals to have," said Barrington. "Prisoners are allowed to call their loved ones using the prison phones, so there's no reason for them to have cell phones accept for misbehavior."

Guns, knives, controlled dangerous substances, alcohol, tobacco products, and money are currently banned in prisons.

SB 1064 will now go to the House for further consideration.

For more information contact:
Sen. Barrington's Office: 405-521-5563

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