Dec. 3, 2010 at 1:54 PM ET
Charles Manson didn't post to Facebook using a smart phone, but he did make calls using a cell phone from prison.
The infamous convicted murderer had an LG flip phone hidden under his mattress which was found by prison officials. Manson used the phone to make calls and send text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia, Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections, told the Los Angeles Times.
"Contraband cell phones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can't keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates: Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history," said the Times' report, referring to the 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people.
President Barack Obama signed a bill in August that bans cell phones from federal prisons and makes it a crime that is punishable by up to a year in jail for smuggling one in, notes the Times. But the bill does not apply to state prison facilities. And that's where Manson, 76, is housed, at Corcoran State Prison, in Kings County, Calif.
Justin Walker, another convicted murderer, was recently discovered using a BlackBerry to post preening photos of himself from his prison cell on Facebook. That state does make it a felony to have a cell phone in a correctional facility, and authorities are investigating the case.
In California, the cell phones-in-prison issue has "been exponential in recent years, authorities say. Guards found 1,400 in 2007, when the department began to keep records of confiscations. The number jumped to 6,995 in 2009 and stands at 8,675 so far this year," the newspaper said.
Outraged by the report, state Sen. Alex Padilla said Friday he plans to introduce two bills to "crack down on the illegal proliferation of cell phones and other wireless communication devices in California prisons."
"As long as prisoners can get their hands on cell phones, neither our prisons nor our communities will be completely secure," he said in a statement Friday.