Sacramento, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Senate Bill 26, authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), was signed by the Governor today. The new law will crack down on the smuggling and possession of cell phones and other wireless communication devices in California prisons. The law becomes effective immediately.

The law imposes tough penalties for both smugglers and inmates. It also facilitates the deployment of managed access technology to prevent illicit cell phones from sending or receiving communications within the secure perimeter of a prison.

“I want to thank Governor Brown for signing this bill into law. For much too long now, inmates have used cell phones to commit criminal acts and terrorize their victims,” said Senator Padilla.

“We know that inmates with cell phones are ordering murders, organizing escapes, facilitating drug deals, controlling street gangs and terrorizing rape victims. Beginning today, this new law provides the tools to crack down on cell phones in California’s prisons and stop these criminal acts,” said Senator Padilla.

“Cell phones in the hands of inmates are a clear and present threat to the safety of correctional officers, victims and the public,” said Senator Padilla.

The bill had strong support from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in its efforts to address the rampant problem of cell phone use in California’s prisons. “Contraband cell phones in prison continue to be a problem for CDCR as they allow inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and commit crimes,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “This year we have confiscated 6,000 phones through May at our prisons. Senate Bill 26 strengthens our efforts to curb this problem,” he added.