SC officials struggle to curb inmate crime using smuggled cellphones

SC officials struggle to curb inmate crime using smuggled cellphones

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.

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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.