It’s no mystery to prison officials that illegal contraband is a constant problem throughout the U.S. prison system. Illegal cell phones pose a risk not only within prisons, but to innocent people outside of prisons. Imprisoned gang members make strides to direct illegal activities on the outside using this contraband. However, we can now feel safer with the advent of new technology that makes illegal cell phones virtually useless.
Securus Technologies, a Dallas, Texas-based supplier of prison monitoring and other services and technologies, is deploying the Wireless Containment Solution (WCS) in many prisons throughout the country. This potentially life-saving system effectively screens out calls made by illegal cell phones and blocks their transmission. In a recent analysis performed over one year, it was learned that WCS successfully blocked over 1.7 million illegal calls from just eight prisons. When this type of technology is deployed in all prisons, the potential for more crime prevention will be enormous. As a result, we will all be even safer.
However, it wasn’t until recently that this technology was even legal. Industry experts and advocates passionately testified to the Federal Communications Commission about the dangers of contraband cell phone use in prisons. Robert Johnson, a former corrections officer and now a consultant to Securus, shared his unique experience about nearly being killed when a prison gang put a hit on him after he intercepted $50,000 worth of their contraband. Using an illegal cell phone, they contracted with an ex-convict who nearly took his life. However, Robert survived, recovered, and went on to the national level to influence the FCC to relax regulations that prohibited technologies such as WCS. Prisons can now use this technology, provided that they selectively block illegal phone signals.
Securus Technologies continues to develop and refine the technology behind WCS, with over $40 million invested (and counting). Securus claims that this technology is the most effective in preventing illegal cell phone transmissions. However, the amount of crime that has been prevented (and will be) is immeasurable. Lives are being saved and less affected by the efforts of powerful criminal elements from within prisons.