Cell phones in prisons and jails are a hot commodity. Finding national numbers was hard to do, but to give you a perspective of how big it is, California prison guards found 9,000 in 2013.
State police officer told me one time while working on a tip they busted a female during visitation at a prison with 3 flip phones. They were wrapped up and “inside her”. That is is an example of great lengths to get these phones inside a prison. But why? Because the price it goes for.
In Texas, a deathrow inmate paid $2,100 for one phone.
In 2011, the NY Times found that
“payments for cellphones range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the type of phone and the service plan. Monthly fees are generally paid by inmates’ relatives.”
Prison guard in Las Vegas was paid $2,000 by an accused murderers family to smuggle in 2 cell phones.
Prison guard in New Jersey was set up in a sting and thought they were getting $1,000 for a cell phone from an inmate.
An unmeasurable financial aspect is when two Indiana prisoners had cell phones smuggled in to run their drug business while on the inside. Indiana prisoners are paying up $1,600 for a phone.