Texas legislator demands crackdown on prison contraband

AUSTIN (AP) - Some Texas leaders today demanded a crackdown on corrupt guards and an upgrade of security at state prisons.

Sen. John Whitmire of Houston received calls this month from death row inmate Richard Tabler -- who used a smuggled cell phone.

Whitmire, who chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, says the inmate described the lawmaker's daughters by name and where they live.

The phone was seized this week and Tabler's mother was arrested in Austin -- on charges she bought minutes for the device.

Whitmire, during the hearing in Austin, told prison officials he wants "zero tolerance" for contraband smuggling.

Gov. Rick Perry has ordered a systemwide prison lockdown and search.

Prison authorities say internal policy bars patting down all guards who enter the units.

Prison officials also cited the combination of low salaries and big pay-offs for smuggling contraband.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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