People who have to attend court ordered community service would be well advised not to bring their new or old cell phones with them when they turn up, or they could find themselves heading to prison. That is what happened to ten people in Coweta County in the United States recently. The ten individuals concerned had other violations including not paying fines or being behind on service hours, but it was being caught, after repeated warnings, with cell phones that they found themselves being booked into Coweta County Jail, where they will have to stay until they can appear before a judge, which will be Thursday at the earliest.
“We are very serious about this,” Coweta County State Court’s chief probation officer, Michael Terrell, says. “Probation is part of your sentence… and if you violate your probation you can go to jail. People ask us if they can really go to jail for this, and we tell them ‘yes’.”
Over the last few weeks, more and more people have been breaking the ban on cell phones, which has led the probation office to begin taking serious steps, including pre-announced pat-downs. Terrell insists the issue is partly one of safety. “A lot of them are out there picking up trash and wanting to put in headphones or start texting,” he points out. “They might not be paying attention and we don’t want anyone stepping out into the street and getting run over.”