For release on October 23, 2014
Johnny Gogo, Deputy District Attorney
PRISON DONATES CONFISCATED PHONES TO HELP SANTA CLARA DV VICTIMS
A California state prison has donated more than 200 contraband cell phones to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to help survivors of domestic violence.
This week, Community Prosecutor Johnny Gogo delivered the phones, which were confiscated from inmates at Chuckawala Valley State Prison, to Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence. The San Jose-based battered women’s service agency collects used cell phones and recycles them in return for much-needed funds. Gogo’s cell phone donation will generate about $2,000 to $2,500 for the organization.
“Some of these phones were used by inmates who have been convicted of domestic violence, and now they are being used to help survivors,” Gogo said. “We are grateful to the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison officials for their generosity and willingness to help our community’s crime victims.”
Gogo contacted the prison through his brother, a correctional counselor in Chino.
Chuckawalla Sgt. Curtis Carney said that the prison had been seizing about 300 contraband cell phones a year. That slowed to about 35 a year when prison officials installed a cell phone blocking system. Some people hike miles through the desert, Carney said, and toss phones over the prisons walls.
Prisoners use the illegal phones for criminal activity, including smuggling narcotics, coordinating prison riots or even ordering homicides on the streets.
Last year, Gogo coordinated the donation of 140 phones from the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco. Next Door has raised $5,000 this year from cell phone donations, and about $28,000 overall since its cell phone donation program began in 2003.
Anyone who would like to donate cell phones may contact Donna Knowlton at (408) 501-7550 or