California prison authorities are having a hard time keeping cell phones out of the hands of even the most notorious inmates. The number of phones confiscated in the state since officials started keeping track has jumped from 1,400 in 2007 to 8,675 so far this year, and prisoners who've had phone seized include Charles Manson. He made calls and sent texts to people in California, New Jersey, Florida, and British Columbia before guards found the LG flip phone stashed under his mattress the Los Angeles Times reports.
A Department of Corrections spokesman says it's unclear whether Manson used the phone to make threats or order crimes, "but it's troubling that he had a cell phone since he's a person who got other people to murder on his behalf." Though Obama signed a bill that bans cell phones from federal prisons in August, state lawmakers have tried and failed to make it a crime for an inmate to possess a cell phone and for anybody from the outside to smuggle a cell phone into prison. One corrections officer who made $150,000 in a single year by supplying inmates with phones was fired, but not charged with any crime.