Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Prison blackmarket revealed: Guards who will sell phones for $300 and the prisoners making thousands

While prison movies may tell you that cigarettes are the primary form of currency in the big house, more attention is being paid to the buying and selling of smart phones within prison walls.

Drugs and other contraband are still confiscated by guards, but the digital age has spawned the emergence of illegal cell phone use by inmates, who use the devices to call family, friends, and even witnesses.

In its series on incarceration in America, Business Insider spoke with a current inmate known only as 'Leon Kingsley,' who was able to call the website and send photos with a smuggled device.

Kingsley is currently serving a 10-year state sentences and a 110-month federal sentence, according to the website.

He said that smart phones are in demand among prisoners, and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Kingsley told Business Insider that in many cases, the whole cell block is in on the scheme, including some of the guards, who will collect between $400 and $500 for a bare bones $20 phone.

He told the site: 'The police will do it, too, because they get paid very little. But if you use the phone and sell time off of it to the other inmates, you'll make your money back in one month.' Read More