Cellphones are prized possessions inside state prisons, so smuggling of the contraband devices is lucrative and hard to control.

The Alabama Department of Corrections plans to tackle the problem in another way, blocking calls from inmates’ phones to make them essentially useless.

Steve Brown, chief of staff for DOC, said the agency plans to install what is called a “managed access” system for Draper, Elmore and Staton correctional facilities, three neighboring prisons in Elmore County.

DOC expects the project to cost about $2 million.

DOC has asked the Legislature for another $4 million to install systems at Bibb, Donaldson, Fountain and St. Clair correctional facilities.

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