A Bay Area state senator is taking a page from the headlines to help promote a bill she's sponsoring.
Notorious serial killer Charles Manson was caught with a second smuggled cell phone a couple weeks ago and Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) says she has a bill that would help keep that from happening again.
Alquist introduced Senate Bill 139 this week, which would require the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to conduct random searches of employees and outside vendors who enter prisons. The searches would be focused on contraband like a cell phone.
"Prisoners with cell phones clearly pose a security threat," Alquist said after introducing SB 139. "The potential for inmates to coordinate gang-related activity, drug deals, and violent crimes is too grave of a risk to go uncontrolled."
Alquist says the problem has exploded in recent years. She has the numbers to back that claim up. According to Alquist in 2006 just 26 cell phones were found inside correctional facilities. By 2010, that number exploded to 8,500.
Prison officials have not released details on who Manson was calling or texting with his second phone, but the LA Time reported he made contacts in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia when caught in March 2009.
SB139 is in the very early going. The legislation is still awaiting referral from the Senate Rules Committee.