Warren Jeffs's world got a little smaller this week as prison officials suspended his phone privileges as they look into allegations that he used a Christmas Day phone call to preach to his FLDS flock, skirting prison rules.
"We're investigating whether he may have violated the offender telephone system rules," Jason Clark, spokesman for Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman, told the TM Daily Post . "It's alleged that on Christmas Day he preached a sermon to his congregation." Clark declined to name the two people Jeffs phoned on Christmas.
Inmates can only phone up to ten people on an approved list, and calls may not be recorded or placed on speakerphone, Clark said. Phone calls are limited to 240 minutes a month, with no single call exceeding fifteen minutes. Jeffs' phone privileges will remain suspended pending the outcome of the TDCJ's internal investigation.
Jeffs has continued to exert control over the polygamist sect since he was sent to the state penitentiary in August. In the last month, Jeffs has purportedly banned married couples from having sex while he remains imprisoned, the El Dorado Success reported. More than one thousand members of the 10,000-strong polygamist sect were cast out over the weekend, and the Salt Lake Tribune 's Lindsay Whitehurst reported that in Jeffs' alleged Christmas Day sermon, he laid out January 1 as the deadline to "be chosen or cast out" of the group.
Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in TDCJ's Powledge Unit in Palestine, is in protective custody and only leaves his sixty-foot cell each day for an hour of recreation and to shower, Clark said. "Protective custody inmates — there are only 85 of them in the 156,000-inmate system — are isolated because of serious, direct or proven threats against them," according to Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press .
Adjusting to the TDCJ rules must have been difficult for 56-year-old Jeffs, who enjoyed more liberal phone privileges in the Reagan and Schleicher county jails when he was awaiting trial. In five months last year, Jeffs spent more than $23,000 on phone cards, ABC News reported. In March 2011 alone, Jeffs made more than 600 calls from Reagan County Jail, Whitehurst wrote in the the Salt Lake Tribune last April.