LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mass murderer Charles Manson was caught with a cell phone behind bars for the second time in two years, a California prison official said on Wednesday.
The state bars mobile phones for all inmates, out of a concern they could use the devices to mastermind crimes in the outside world, or arrange attacks on inmates or guards.
Guards at Corcoran State Prison found Manson's contraband phone in a routine search of his prison cell on January 6, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Prison authorities are still investigating how Manson got the phone and who he might have called, she said.
Manson, 76, is one of America's most notorious mass murderers who, along with his cult followers, was convicted in the 1969 murders of seven victims, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, who was the wife of director Roman Polanski.
Thornton said prison officials take their cell phone policy seriously, even though one slipped through to Manson.
"If you were to visit a prison, we would ask you to leave your cell phone in the car. No one is to have a cell phone in the prison," she said.
In 2009, Manson was also caught with a cell phone. He used it to call people in California, New Jersey, Florida and the Canadian province of British Columbia; and he received calls from Florida, Massachusetts and Indiana, Thornton said.
Thornton said she did not know if any crimes resulted from those calls. As punishment, Manson lost 30 days of good behavior credit. Thornton said Manson will face a hearing that will decide a penalty for the second cell phone offense.
Manson, who is serving a life sentence, was denied parole for the 11th time in 2007. He is eligible for another hearing in 2012.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Peter Bohan