Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Correction Officers say cell phones like an iPhone go for close to $2,000 behind bars. Phones and other contraband are in such high demand that someone tries to throw them over prison fences just about every day.
A video found on WorldStar HipHop shows inmates in a state prison recording a song with a cell phone, something that is considered contraband behind bars.
"I am not happy about it and I've talked to the warden about why this was allowed to happen and we are doing things currently to change how contraband gets in," said Director of the state Department of Corrections, Bryan Stirling.
The video has only been on the web for about a day and already has close to 500,000 views.
Stirling is the Director of the Department of Corrections and he says any contraband is dangerous but cell phones pose a huge threat.
"We have a case that's in federal court with Captain Johnson where there was an alleged use of a cell phone to perform a hit on Johnson and he was shot six times at his home."
Robert Johnson who was shot back in 2010 was a corrections officer overseeing efforts to keep contraband like cell phones out of Lee Correctional Institution.
With this incident Stirling says there were several broken violations.
"The windows should not have been covered and those are going to be questions in our investigation that I want answers to."
Aside from the covered window, about seven inmates were in a cell without supervision and there was writing on some of the inmate's hats, something Stirling says is a violation.
He says there are a number of ways that contraband can get in a prison--some hide drugs and phones in footballs and other items.
"This is contraband, these are not rocks (showing a picture of contraband) they are made to look like that so if you were an officer driving by in a car you would think those are just rocks so when the inmates go out for recreation or something they can easily pick those up."
The department has now added officers to patrol more areas and they are using new metal detecting devices.
"We also walk their mattresses by and it can detect if medal is in them."
There is a bill in the state house that would make it a felony to provide contraband. Lawmakers will discuss the bill on Thursday.
As for the seven inmates in the video, they have been removed from that prison and an investigation is ongoing.