BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 139|
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                              UNFINISHED BUSINESS

          Bill No:  SB 139
          Author:   Alquist (D)
          Amended:  8/26/11
          Vote:     21

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 5/3/11
          AYES:  Hancock, Calderon, Harman, Liu, Price, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Anderson

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           SENATE FLOOR  :  39-0, 6/2/11
          AYES:  Alquist, Anderson, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Calderon, 
            Cannella, Corbett, Correa, De León, DeSaulnier, Dutton, 
            Emmerson, Evans, Fuller, Gaines, Hancock, Harman, 
            Hernandez, Huff, Kehoe, La Malfa, Leno, Lieu, Liu, 
            Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod, Padilla, Pavley, Price, Rubio, 
            Simitian, Steinberg, Strickland, Vargas, Walters, Wolk, 
            Wright, Wyland, Yee
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Runner

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available

           SUBJECT  :    Corrections:  state prisons:  searches

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    The purpose of this bill is to (1) require, 
          until January 1, 2014, the Department of Corrections and 
          Rehabilitation (CDCR) to oversee and conduct periodic and 


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          random searches of employees and vendors entering the 
          secure perimeter of a state prison under the jurisdiction 
          of CDCR for contraband, as specified; (2) require CDCR to 
          provide a written report to the Legislature at least 
          quarterly regarding these searches, as specified.

           Assembly Amendments  (1) delete provisions that includes the 
          Inspector General (2) streamline required search notices, 
          and (3) add a January 1, 2014 sunset date.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law defines "contraband" in a prison 
          as "anything which is not permitted, in excess of the 
          maximum quantity permitted, or received or obtained from an 
          unauthorized source."  (15 Cal. Code of Regs. Section 
          3000.)  Possession of a cellular telephone or any other 
          electronic communications device by an inmate is 
          specifically prohibited.  (15 Cal. Code of Regs. Section 

          Existing law creates the office of the Inspector General 
          and requires the Inspector General to review departmental 
          policy and procedures, conduct audits of investigatory 
          practices and other audits, be responsible for 
          contemporaneous oversight of internal affairs 
          investigations and the disciplinary process, and conduct 
          investigations of the CDCR, as requested by either the 
          Secretary of the CDCR or a Member of the Legislature, 
          pursuant to the approval of the Inspector General under 
          policies to be developed by the Inspector General.  The 
          Inspector General may, under policies developed by the 
          Inspector General, initiate an investigation or an audit on 
          his/her own accord.  (Penal Code Section 6126(a)(1).)

          This bill requires CDCR to oversee and conduct periodic and 
          random searches of employees and vendors entering the 
          secure perimeter of a state prison under the jurisdiction 
          of the department for contraband. These searches would 
          include random searches of property, personal or otherwise, 
          brought into the prison by those individuals.  CDCR must 
          provide the Inspector General with no less than five 
          working day's notice prior to the dates of those random 
          searches the department plans to conduct.

          This bill provides that the searches be conducted at each 



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          institution at least once per month.  However, the 
          secretary, or his/her designee, may cancel a search at an 
          institution in a given month provided both of the following 
          criteria are met:

             For every canceled search at an institution per month, 
             an additional search shall be conducted at another 
             institution within that same month.

             No institution may go three consecutive months without 
             a search.

          This bill requires CDCR to provide a written report to the 
          Legislature at least quarterly detailing the following:

             The names of the prisons where the searches took place.
             The dates of the searches.
             The shifts during which the searches took place.
             The number of employees searched.
             The number of vendors searched.
             The number of cell phones discovered.
             The number of items of portable computer equipment 
             found, including, but not limited to, iPods, MP3 
             players, DVD players, CD players, CDs, and portable 
             video game players.
             Tobacco products found.
             Illegal substances found, listed by type of substance.

          The provisions of this bill sunset on January 1, 2014.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  9/7/11)

          California District Attorney Association
          Friends Committee on Legislation of California
          Life Support Alliance

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, 
          the number of cell phones confiscated in prison in 2006 was 
          261.  Last year, 8,675 cell phones were confiscated.  That 
          constitutes an increase of 3224 percent.  Recent stories in 
          the news report inmates paying $500 to $1500 per phone.



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          A 2010 KCRA Channel 3 report quoted an Avenal spokesman 
          saying inmates with cell phones "can order hits.  They can 
          organize escapes."  An Associated Press story discusses how 
          Mexican drug traffickers call prisons gangs in the United 
          States via cell phones when they "need someone killed or 
          kidnapped or drugs distributed in the United States."  

          The California Senate Rules Committee for the last several 
          years has focused on cell phones entering prisons during 
          the confirmation hearings of CDCR officials.

          In May of 2009, the Office of the Inspector General sent a 
          special report entitled "Inmate Cell Phone Use Endangers 
          Prison Security and Public Safety" to CDCR Secretary 
          Matthew Cate. Among other things the report found, 
          "Inmates' access to cell phone technology facilitates their 
          ability to communicate amongst themselves and their 
          associates outside of prison, to plan prison assaults, plot 
          prison escapes, and orchestrate a myriad of other illegal 
          activities.  In addition, these devices can provide an 
          inmate unrestricted and unmonitored access to the Internet, 
          whereby they can communicate with unsuspecting victims, 
          including minors."

          The report also found that, "In addition to staff, other 
          conduits for smuggling cell phones include visitors, 
          outside accomplices, minimum support facility inmates 
          working outside perimeter fences, and contracted 

          In July of 2008 CDCR's Department of Internal Affairs 
          conducted surprise screenings for two days called "Project 
          Disconnect."  During these searches, one employee's vehicle 
          was searched and fifty cell phones, labeled with the 
          inmates' names, were found.  Since November of 2009, CDCR 
          has continued the random once a month searches of employees 
          entering every prison in California with "Operation 

          This bill codifies the activities of "Operation Disconnect" 
          into law and includes vendors as those subject to the 
          search.  While cell phones are targeted, this bill aims to 
          halt all contraband entering prisons.  This bill requires 



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          the OIG to oversee the searches to ensure the integrity of 
          the process.  Finally, this bill requires that CDCR and the 
          Office of the Inspector General submit a report to the 
          Legislature detailing the finding of the searches as well 
          as a general comment section.

          RJG:do  9/7/11   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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