One of the most serious threats that faces penal institutions throughout the United States is that posed by illicit cellular devices. With cell phones becoming small enough to easily secret in almost any location, the flood of contraband cellular devices across the nation’s prisons has become a top priority among prison officials.
Many people outside of the corrections industry don’t realize just how dangerous such illegal devices can be. Inside of prison, cell phones are among the most highly prized possession that anyone could come by. A contraband cell phone can be worth a tremendous amount of money in itself, and it can generate serious income for whatever inmate controls it. Many inmates who are able to smuggle cell phones inside the prison system are able to rent them out, competing with legitimate communications providers and circumventing the security systems in place to monitor inmate communications taking place over the prison phone system.
But the largest problem, by far, that is associated with illegal cell phone usage comes from the threat that organized prison gangs pose to both the safety of the institution itself and the public at large. Illegal cell phones are used by gangs to carry out criminal activity, allowing them to quickly and effectively communicate with members, known as soldiers, on the outside of prison. Many prison gangs have up to half of their membership on the outside of prison. This means that, with access to illegal cell phones, powerful gang leaders are able to continue carrying out criminal activities as if they were not incarcerated at all.
Gangs have used cell phones to organize major drug shipments, intimidate witnesses and even to order successful hits on rival gang members and prison guards. The ability of the most dangerous gangs to communicate with operatives on the outside of prison effectively nullifies the entire purpose of incarceration, completely failing to neutralize the threat that these criminals pose to society as a whole.
But now, Securus Technologies has developed a new tool in the fight against contraband cell phones in the nation’s prisons and jails. Known as the Wireless Containment System, this hi-tech tool allows prison guards to prevent any unauthorized communications from going through to the towers that would normally pick them up. Instead, the user attempting to place an unauthorized cellular call will get a message that their call could not go through.
The system also allows for the exact location of any unauthorized cellular device to be pinpointed by corrections officers. In prisons where the Wireless Containment System has been deployed, the rate of confiscations on random searches has dropped to near zero, indicating that the system is nearly 100-percent effective in locating all contraband phones.