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      Cellphones becoming hot items inside Ohio prisons

      Lucas County Jail

      Ohio corrections officials are finding that cellphones are increasingly popular contraband items for prison inmates.

      The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that state prison records show corrections officers have seized 319 cellphones in the year's first seven months. That compares to 340 for all of last year, and is a jump from 126 seized in 2010.

      New and smaller kinds of cellphones are making it easier for them to be smuggled into and hidden in prison. Authorities say inmates can use cellphones to plan escapes or assaults and to run crime operations from inside the prison.

      Ohio corrections officials have begun using cellphone detectors that can track phone use. They also have increased training of guards on looking for cellphones, and also are using search dogs.

      In July, a Lucas County Jail corrections officer was arrested after an investigation revealed she had been smuggling drugs and prescription pain medications into the downtown Toledo jail.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this article.)