New Jersey corrections officials have a new way of detecting certain contraband in prisons: cell phone-sniffing dogs.
The Corrections Department's Canine Unit has trained several dogs to detect cell phones, even when they are turned off.
The dogs began sniffing for banned phones in mid-October, and have already made unannounced sweeps in all 14 New Jersey prisons. A demonstration of the canines' capabilities and those of their handlers is planned for next week.
Corrections Department spokesman Matt Schuman says cell phones are banned inside prisons because they give inmates the ability to coordinate escapes, monitor staff movements and orchestrate crimes.
News of stepped-up searches for cell phones follows a State Commission of Investigation report showing the prevalence of street gangs inside New Jersey prisons.