One of the reasons Catholic leadership is giving for abolishing capital punishment is that the current penal technology is sufficient to protect the innocent from the aggressor, but, as we see from this article from the New York Times, that is not the case.
ATLANTA — Twelve people were indicted this week on suspicion of having roles in crime rings that the authorities said relied on cellphones that were smuggled into Georgia prisons and allowed inmates to order killings, sell drugs to customers hundreds of miles away and try to steal identities.
To law enforcement officials here, the indictments were troubling reminders of how cellphones have complicated and deepened their struggle against prison contraband, which they said can produce danger well beyond the walls of state penitentiaries.
“Prisons serve to punish and to rehabilitate convicted offenders and to deter crime, not to enable it,” John A. Horn, the United States attorney in Atlanta, said Thursday. “The indictments today allege that, after being placed in prison to protect society from their ongoing criminal behavior, these inmates capitalized on the ready access to cellphones and other contraband to further victimize citizens outside prisons.”
A federal grand jury returned the charges Tuesday, and the indictments were unsealed Thursday. The indictments named, among others, seven current or former inmates and two former prison workers. It was not immediately clear whether any of those charged had lawyers in their federal cases.
In the indictments, officials described cellphone smuggling operations at two state prisons, one near Atlanta and another near the Florida border. At both prisons, the indictment said, inmates used phones to conduct criminal activity elsewhere.
From the Valdosta State Prison near Florida, for instance, a convicted murderer oversaw “a network of illegal drug suppliers and couriers,” the federal authorities said, and used an illicit cellphone to promote that clandestine business.
“We have good prices and good product,” the inmate, Donald H. Hinley, said in a recorded telephone call, the indictment said.
In another instance, the federal authorities said, Mr. Hinley called an inmate at another facility and sought the killing of a prisoner who was cooperating with prosecutors in a case that involved Mr. Hinley’s girlfriend. He also, according to the indictment, ordered the inmate, if he was released from prison, to “shoot every one” of the expected witness’s family members.