A federal inmate was found to be using a cellphone to communicate with friends, family, and potential dating partners via Facebook.
Cellphones are banned in prison. The public is wondering what breakdown in security lead Jeffrey Mattox to obtain a cellphone and post photos from within prison walls. Mattox is currently in Lackawanna County Prison on drug and assault charges, WNEP reported.
“It’s scary, it’s actually scary because they’re in there for a reason, they’re not in there to play around and how that cellphone got in there, that is the question,” Colleen Mowery, of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, told WNEP.
Photos on Mattox’s Facebook account appear to be taken from within prison. Facebook comments appear to show him communicating with family and friends.
A local man speculated on how Mattox may have obtained the cellphone.
“I think he’s in good with the guards and guards are bringing, the ones bringing the stuff in, that’s the only way it’s getting in there. Just got to tighten down the security with the guards, maybe clean house,” Todd Mowery told WNEP.
Reports indicate cellphone use in prison is a growing problem that legislators are seeking ways to solve. The Federal Bureau of Prisons confiscated 5,116 cellphones in 2016, according to USA Today. Authorities told USA Today the problem is worse in state and local facilities.
Options authorities are looking at include jamming cellphone signals, but the technology is costly and could impact cellphones of people both inside and outside the prison. Also, state and local prisons are not authorized to jam signals, USA Today reported.
Another option has to be implemented by cellphone carriers, and would alert the prison to illicit use and shut down the cellphone service. That technology is also expensive and doesn’t work on all models of cellphones, according to USA Today.
A report about cellphones in Tennessee prisons from WSMV several years ago shows a very active prison Facebook community. The prisoners are shown smoking drugs, flashing cash, making music, eating snacks, and having fun with friends in videos taken on prison grounds.