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At least one federal prison is heeding the recent Justice Department Inspector General report on phone abuses by federal inmates. The August 1999 IG report concluded that “a significant number of federal inmates use prison telephones to commit serious crimes while incarcerated.” Beginning this month, inmates at the Petersburg, Va., prison won’t be allowed to make calls between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., except in “extraordinary” cases involving legal matters or family emergencies. Art Spitzer, legal director of the National Capital Area Office of the American Civil Liberties Union, says the new policy will definitely hamper communications. “No lawyer,” he says, “is going to give an inmate their home phone number.”

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