In most jurisdictions, inmates are prohibited from having mobile phones because of their ability to communicate with the outside world and other security issues. Mobile phones are one of the most commonly smuggled items in prisons. Congress passed the Cell Phone Smuggling Act, which prohibits the possession of cell phones in prisons by unauthorized persons, such as inmates. When a mobile device is confiscated, it is sent to the BOP forensic laboratory in Washington, D.C., for analysis, where technicians use forensic software to extract information, including incoming and outgoing phone numbers, text messages and images stored in the phone's memory (internal and SD card).
There can be serious punishment for those who come across a cell phone. Last year, an inmate at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary was criminally charged with possessing a cell phone and posting videos on Facebook. Regarding the arrest, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Atlanta, Chris Hacker, said: “The audacity of this inmate to broadcast live for everyone to see is an example of how widespread the smuggling of mobile phones is in our prisons.