Department of correction turning contraband into calling cards for troops

PINE BLUFF (KATV) -- The Arkansas Department of Correction is taking a problem in prisons and turning it into a positive for people they don't even know.

Confiscated items have always been an issue within prison walls, but the things being found are now in-line with latest technology.

Smuggling items into prisons is definitely frowned upon by ADC. It has storage rooms full of some of the things found over the years, but one item outnumbers the rest: cell phones. ADC is helping turn the contraband into calling cards.

"They are contraband. They are cell phones that were found as drops outside of correctional facilities, and some of them inmates managed to smuggle inside," said ADC spokesperson Shea Wilson.

All of these phones are sitting in storage at the department of correction office, but not for long because 600 phones sitting in three boxes are set to be sent out to the 501(3) charity "Cell Phones for Soldiers," this week.

It's the first wave of 1,500 phones being sent to the charity.

"Cell Phones for Soldier," takes used cell phones to sell the parts and metals to buy calling cards for active military overseas.

"This is strictly a donation from the department of correction. These are phones that we found. They are contraband so we're looking to do something positive, and turn them back into the community as a plus," Wilson added.

Since the non-profit group started in 2004, it reports more than 200 million minutes have been used by people serving our country through donations to its charity.

Even better news is there are still about 900 additional cell phones that ADC will mail out in the coming weeks.

To find out more about the charity, or how active military can request the calling cards visit: