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Cell Phone Forensics Play Key Role in Gathering Intelligence

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2015
4 pages
This article promotes the "Cell Phone Forensics in a Corrections Setting Guidebook," which explains the evidentiary benefits of a cell phone forensics program, reviews the technology available to help agencies examine inmate contraband cell phones, outlines the issues involved in starting an internal cell phone forensics program, and summarizes relevant legal issues and case law.

Because inmate contraband cell phones are a relatively new phenomenon in prisons and jails, many correctional facilities are not yet using cell phone forensics. Whereas confiscated inmate cell phones have often been stored or destroyed, the guide on cell phone forensics in correctional settings, emphasizes that contraband cell phones have many other uses than making calls, such as taking still photos, making videos, and doing word processing and texting. It is important that correctional managers view contraband cell phones as potential sources of evidence associated with criminal conduct. Cell phone data can also assist in identifying linkages between inmates and persons in the community. Recognizing that inmate contraband cell phones are a potential sources of useful information about inmate activities, the NIJ Institutional Corrections Technology Working Group developed the "Cell Phone Forensics in a Correctional Setting Guidebook." It discusses the importance of cell phone forensics to correctional institutions and suggests how agencies can develop their own forensics programs. Techniques and tools for accessing the contents of a modern cell phone are described in the guide.

Date Published: January 1, 2015