By Lt. Tony Quinn, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Sacramento
Staff at California State Prison, Sacramento (SAC), is turning contraband into well-deserved calls and assistance for deployed soldiers and veterans.
The introduction of cellphones into California prisons is a matter of safety and security, both for prison staff, inmates and community members outside the prison. Contraband phones allow inmates to make unauthorized and unmonitored calls to the public and in some cases to other offenders.
At SAC, the staff is helping turn this contraband problem into talk time minutes for soldiers and emergency funds to help our heroes. Led by the prison’s Investigative Services Unit (ISU) Sgt. T.J. Klein and his team of investigators, SAC is donating approximately 400 confiscated phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. The phones are recycled by Cell Phones for Soldiers, and funds are used to purchase calling cards for troops so they can call home at no charge, and to provide emergency grants to aid veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
The donated phones have been intercepted by the staff at SAC who understand the importance of keeping these phones off “the yard” and out of the hands of offenders. What is more impressive is the great majority of the phones were intercepted prior to making it inside the institution.
“The fact that SAC was able to keep these phones out of the hands of the inmate population is a testament to the diligence and perseverance of the staff,” said Warden David Baughman. “I am very proud of our staff members, who work tirelessly to try to curb this problem”
SAC’s staff said they are proud to donate to the Cell Phones for Soldiers organization founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. To date, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 300 million minutes of talk time to our troops serving around the world through the Minutes That Matter program, and they continue Helping Heroes Home via emergency funds that so far have assisted more than 3,100 veterans.