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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 21, 2019 01:20 PM
From: Representative William C. Kortz, II
To: All House members
Subject: Adding Cell Phones to the Contraband List in Prisons and Streghthen the Penalities
Illicit smuggling of cell phones and other types of contraband into jails, prisons, mental hospitals, and correctional institutions continues to be a major problem in the Commonwealth. Cell phones, in particular, are highly valued and strictly prohibited.

My legislation will help to deter the illegal smuggling of cell phones by staff and visitors by making the offense a misdemeanor of the first degree, and by increasing subsequent violations for all prohibited contraband. Specifically, this legislation makes it unlawful for a visitor or staff member of a correctional institution, prison, jail, detention facility, or mental institution to possess a cell phone without the written permission of the warden, superintendent, or the individual in charge of the facility. My bill will also increase the penalties for all second and subsequent contraband violations to felonies of the third degree.

This legislation is needed to help law enforcement combat the increasing number of cases of smuggled cell phones being used illegally by inmates and patients. The new penalties will treat the possession of contraband in these facilities with the seriousness it deserves.

Introduced as HB1650