Just Let People Have Cellphones in Prison
February 15, 2021

Slate’s Hannah Riley reports “In 2017, a man named Willie Nash was booked into a Mississippi county jail on a misdemeanor charge. For reasons that aren’t clear, his cellphone wasn’t confiscated as the law dictated. When he asked a jailer for a charger, the phone—which he had been using to text his wife—was seized. Nash was then sentenced to 12 years for possessing the cellphone. The case went all the way up to the Mississippi Supreme Court, where the 12-year sentence was affirmed. “While obviously harsh,” Justice James D. Maxwell II wrote for the court, “Nash’s twelve-year sentence for possessing a cell phone in a correctional facility is not grossly disproportionate.” Mr. Nash, a father of three, will be released back to his family in January of 2029, for the crime of texting his wife from jail.”



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