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Listen: S.C. inmate caught trying to reactivate contraband cellphone after it was disabled by prison

When the Lee Correctional Facility inmate called T-Mobile’s tech support, the representative informed the inmate that the phone could not be reactivated because “it has been associated with a contraband device”


AP Photo/Sean Rayford

By Sarah Roebuck

COLUMBIA, S.C. — An inmate was caught trying to get a contraband cellphone back in service, the Post and Courier reported.

Video released by the South Carolina Department of Corrections showcases audio from an inmate at Lee Correctional Facility while on the phone with T-Mobile’s technical support after his contraband cellphone stopped working.

The audio starts in the middle of the phone call with a T-Mobile service representative informing the inmate they cannot reactivate the phone because “it has been associated with a contraband device.”

The T-Mobile representative continues telling the inmate that “questions about the discontinuation of service can be addressed to South Carolina Department of Corrections.”

The phone was deactivated by S.C. DOC’s newly implemented cellphone signal-blocking system that was installed over the summer. The system is designed to intercept contraband to detect signals from mobile phones being used within the confines of the prison. This system pinpoints a phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), which is subsequently handed over to mobile phone service providers.

Corrections spokeswoman Chrysti Shain told the Post and Courier that there has been a monthly decrease in the number of confiscations, indicating a corresponding decline in the number of contraband phones in use inside the facility.