by Darla Slipke
Combating the problem of contraband cellphones in prisons will require a multifaceted approach, Department of Corrections officials told state lawmakers Monday.
“Because of us not being able to jam (cellphone signals) … there’s no one thing that we’re going to do that’s going to just hit us a home run and we’re going to be 100% successful,” said Donnie Anderson, inspector general for the agency.
Corrections officials across the country have pushed for the ability to jam the signals of cellphones that are smuggled into prisons, saying it’s the best way to stop the problem, but federal law prohibits the use of such technology by state agencies. Contraband cellphones are a security threat and a public safety threat because inmates use them to commit crimes and plot violence both in and out of prison, officials have said.
Only federal agencies can be authorized to jam public airwaves, although federal lawmakers proposed legislation that would allow state prison officials to use jamming systems to interfere with cellphone signals within prisons.
During an interim legislative study meeting Monday at the state Capitol, corrections officials from Oklahoma and South Carolina spoke about the benefits of signal-jamming technology.