Contraband: Charles Manson among inmates with a cell phone

WHO: Inmates at California prisons

WHAT: Cell phones are so sleek and in demand that they are easily smuggled into the hands of California prisoners — including the notorious Charles Manson. The man behind one of the most famous series of murders in American history had an LG flip phone under his mattress that he used to call and send text messages to people in California, Florida, New Jersey and British Columbia.

WHY IT IS AN OUTRAGE: President Barack Obama in August signed a bill banning cell phones in federal prisons — with a penalty of up to a year in jail — but that law does not apply to state institutions. In 2007, when the California Department of Corrections began keeping track, 1,400 cell phones were confiscated. That number jumped to 6,995 in 2009 and was at 8,675 this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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