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Diatribe: A Literal Butt-Dial.

02/11/2013

CellPhoneXRayWe’ve all heard stories about attempted prison escapes involving about jailbirds who receive a file in a cake and saw through the bars of their cell or clever inmates who dig tunnels with soup spoons like they did in Escape From Alcatraz.  Throughout history, untold numbers of well-meaning friends and family members have undoubtedly been charged with crimes when attempting to help a loved one escape.

Sneaking things into prison is nothing new but 58-year-old G. Siripala, a Sri Lankan prisoner serving a 10-year sentence for theft, may be the first on record to smuggle a cell phone up his backside.  When he complained of severe back pain, he was escorted by armed prison officials to a local hospital where doctors rushed him for an X-ray.

The doctors suspected that he might have orthopedic complications and were surprised to see that the X-ray showed a cell phone and two hands-free accessories.  As medical staff prepared to carry out a surgical procedure to remove the items, the main reportedly said “Sir, sir, please give me a moment.” Then he coughed, wriggled and shrugged his muscles before the items fell to the ground.

Apparently, the smuggling of cell phones into Welikade Prison, in the northern sector of the nation’s capital, Colombo, is not altogether uncommon.  At nighttime, to avoid detection, prisoners allegedly cover themselves with a bed sheet, hide the phone near their body and use the hands free piece to make calls.  This particular prisoner explained his situation to the doctors by telling them how he had been talking on the cell phone with a relative when prison officials carried out a surprise check on his ward.  With no place to hide the phone, he thrust it in his rectum together with the two hands-free kits.

He would not have been caught if the person he had been speaking with didn’t call back.  But, when a ringing tone came from his backside, prison officials grabbed him.  Siripala alleges that he was beaten by prison guards, causing the back pain that resulted in his trip to hospital and subsequent X-ray.

Apparently, the smuggling of cell phones into prisons is an all-too-common occurrence that forces prison officers to use hand-held detectors.  Many prisoners, particularly when they are taking to courts for appearances, return with mobile phones given to them by outside parties.

The worst offenders are often female prisoners.

Special “signal jammers” have been installed in most prisons but one carrier had a working tower near Welikade that was causing a technical glitch.  The prison will soon be installing body and parcel scanners to help eliminate the problem.

I don’t think that prisoners should ever have cell phone access.  Do you?

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