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“He is in the the hole.”
JONESBORO, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Correction learned that Austin Ivy had a phone when NEA Report contacted them for comment earlier this week.
“When you texted me about Austin Ivy, I was dealing with a matter in another county that required my full attention,” Second Judicial District Prosecutor Attorney Scott Ellington. We text him around noon on Thursday. He spoke with us Friday night around 11 PM.
“I had a chance to get a break. I looked it up on my phone. And so I copied and pasted the address and I contacted the chairman of the Arkansas Department of Correction board. ‘Do you know about this? It looks like we have an inmate that has a cell phone in prison.’ So, about ten minutes later, I get a call from the chairman. He says, ‘Yeah. We’ve handled it now. We found about it.’ From my conversation with him, they didn’t know about Ivy having a phone until NEA Report called and talked to Solomon Graves (ADC Public Information Officer). At that point, they had a conversation about what NEA Report discussed and he called the East Arkansas Unit at Brickey’s and gives the name of Austin Ivy. He’s posting on social media and pictures of drugs. They immediately went to his cell and did a shakedown. Found the phone but did not find the drugs. They did a shakedown and found the phone. They took Mr. Ivy and put him in lock-down.”
Ivy will be in lock-down for the next six months. He was stripped to his underwear. He’s put in a concrete cell with nothing else. From 9-10 PM (bedtime) until 6 AM, he will be given a mat to sleep on. No mat for the rest of the day. This will be his life for 23 hours a day for the next 180 days.
Ellington said Ivy gets fed his three meals a day. If he throws his food at the guards, which is something that happens a lot, then he will not get his three meals a day. He will get a protein loaf which has no flavor but all the federally required nutrients. It’s like eating sawdust. He will have water, too.
We asked the prosecutor how the young murderer was able to get access to a phone. It’s an issue state prisons are dealing with regularly, he said.
“Evidently, the best that the department can determine is that the going price for a phone is about 500 bucks,” Ellington said. “Where they get the money is unknown – if someone’s family supplies the money or how they end up with it. It’s kind of the legend within the department. When they go out to ‘work,’ someone will make a phone drop outside somewhere across the fence, some way. They body scan them when they come in front and back when they get them back into the prison. The number of phones that have gotten in, they think has been reduced by 85 percent by the body scanners.”
In other words, Ivy’s phone was well-hidden when it was transferred back in.
State prisons have asked the Federal government – and the government has denied the request – to block phone transmissions. In federal prisons they can but in state prisons they can’t, Ellington said. If State prisons had that ability, it would eliminate the phone trade.
“Senator Tom Cotton is working on a bill now that make it no reason to smuggle in a phone because they can’t get signals out,” Ellington said. “It’s a problem at all (state) prisons, evidently.”
There’s a possible charge for bringing contraband into a prison facility but because his sentence is so long, it would most likely be run concurrent, meaning at the same time.
We asked Mr. Ellington if he felt like Ivy got a ‘Luh’ time in the hole.
“If he gets the full 180 days, I think that’s a lot of time in the hole.”