TDOC to give away confiscated prison cell phones to help YWCA - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

TDOC to give away confiscated prison cell phones to help YWCA

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

This year, the Channel 4 I-Team has been exposing dozens of Tennessee inmates who use cell phones to enjoy social media and even harass innocent people while behind bars.

Now, we know just how many phones are getting into Tennessee's prisons.

An event to celebrate a partnership between the YWCA and the Tennessee Department of Correction revealed an estimated 4,000 illegal cell phones have been found in Tennessee prisons in the last five to six years.

"Take these phones out of the prison and stop or prevent them from being used for illegal activities," said TDOC spokeswoman Dorinda Carter.

The Channel 4 I-Team has been investigating - and exposing - how these phones are helping to create a party behind bars for Tennessee inmates.

Our investigation showed how inmates were using the phones to record their drug use and communication on social media with friends and other inmates.

And we've found innocent people harassed and threatened by inmates by phone.

When our investigation first aired, TDOC officials swept 14 prisons and found more than 50 phones. But that was just a drop in the bucket.

Still, the state is grappling with just how the phones were able to get in. Our investigation found, in several cases, it was correctional officers themselves.

The Department of Correction donated the phones to the YWCA, which will in turn sell the phones in order to raise money for anti-domestic violence programs.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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