July 15, 2009
States Seek to Jam Prison Cellphone Signals
According to an article in The New York Times, blocking signals from contraband cellphones in jails might just get legal aproval.
Two dozen state corrections agencies have signed a petition that would waive a 1934 federal ban on telecommunications jamming for prisons and other exceptional cases.
Lobbyists for telecommunication companies say that any weakening of antijamming legislation could become a slippery slope that eventually could inappropriately limit cellphone use.
Law enforcement officials say that smuggled cellphones are a growing problem across the country, allowing inmates to make unmonitored calls.
Some states like California and Maryland have trained canine units to sniff out cellphones in prisons, but prison officials say that the best way to disrupt cellphone use is by using jamming equipment.
“Jamming technology has come a long way,” said Jon Ozmint, the director of South Carolina’s corrections system. “It used to be that you had to jam a large area.”
Picture left of inmates in the Carandiru Prison, Latin America's largest, use a celular phone during a 2001 rebellion in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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