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NYS Inmates Being Prosecuted For Abusive Phone Calls

MINEOLA (CBSNewYork) -- Just because a domestic abuse suspect is behind bars doesn't mean the intimidation stops for their victims.

Now, New York State inmates who call their victims are learning the consequences of their words. CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan has more on how the state is listening in -- in a powerful effort to break the cycle of abuse.

They've been charged with burning, beating, stabbing and shooting their wives or girlfriends. And even from jail the domestic abuse continues -- with threatening, manipulating, cajoling and coercing.

Exchanges like the following have prosecutors seeing red and now taking action to right what they say are many wrongs:

Victim: "'Hello, hello."

Inmate: "What's up baby? You sent the police at my house two o'clock in the morning to put me in jail? How would you do something like that? You made love to me at my house two days."

Victim: "I was going to tell them to drop the charges anyway."

Inmate: "Tell them you want the case amended. You know what I'm saying? Tell whoever you talk to -- tell the police -- you trying to get a case amended."

It turns out many inmates accused of domestic violence can't stop themselves from going after their victims again, with many becoming so fearful they refuse to testify against their violent, abusive lovers.

"One individual called 328 times, 400 calls. And we're able to bring those calls to court and show a judge that a victim is not here -- not because she doesn't want to be here, but she feels that pressure, that coercion from the defendant," Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Sometimes that coercion is very threatening. The following is another recorded call:

Inmate: "Even if I do get seven years, I'm coming home and you're going to have a [expletive] big problem, Jen. You should have just let me alone, Jen. And now you want to keep playing games with me."

Victim: "I'm gonna have a big problem?"

Inmate: "I thought you loved me, Jen. You sent me all these letters. You're sending me these pictures. You're coming over my house."

Singas, chief of Nassau's Special Victims Bureau, said now suspects' own words from jail are being used against them in New York courts as never before -- and it's all legal.

"Yes, yes, it has completely revolutionized the way that we prosecute domestic violence cases," Singas told McLogan.

Caught on tape sweet-talking, confessing and berating is now the prosecutor's newest tool -- and guilty verdicts are following.

Defense lawyers criticize prosecutors' use of the recordings, calling it traps for men who are cut off from the world.

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