• SC officials struggle to curb inmate crime using smuggled cellphones

    By: Brittney Johnson


    Some inmates in South Carolina’s prison system are making more money in a month than minimum wage employees do in a year -– thanks in part to contraband cellphones.

    Documents obtained by Channel 9 add to what we learned during our initial investigation in 2017 – the phones are being used to commit crimes and sell drugs.

    >> Contraband cellphones are just used for buying and selling drugs. WATCH Eyewitness News at 5:30 as anchor Brittney Johnson reports on what other crimes are being carried out behind bars as a result of smuggled cellphones.


    Correctional staff members are being bribed to let the phones in -– at an average of $350 a phone.

    Hard numbers show the problem continuing to grow. In January 2013, about $594,000 was deposited into inmate accounts. By January 2018, that amount had nearly tripled to $1.7 million.

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