Illegal Prison Cell Phones Are on Their Way to Becoming Useless

A near-death experience and motivation of a man is making our streets a bit safer. Robert Johnson, a consultant to Securus Technologies and advocate of eliminating illegal cell phone contraband in prisons, has taken quite the road to where he is today.

 

Robert began his corrections career at Lee Correctional Institution, located in Bishopville, South Carolina. He eventually became quite adept at intercepting illegal contraband moving through the prison. After 15 years of service, his skills became so good that he was able to intercept a package of illegal contraband destined to a prison gang worth $50,000. The gang didn’t take this matter lightly. Using an illegal cell phone, they contacted an ex-convict on the outside and arranged a hit on Johnson. Although Johnson was critically injured during the assault, he went on to make a miraculous recovery. It was then learned that the entire crime was set up through the illegal cell phone.

 

This crime, as well as “hits” performed on others (including children), gave Johnson the motivation and new life goal of eradicating contraband cell phones in all prisons. He was hired on with Securus as a consultant and ultimately testified to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about his story. Johnson’s and others’ testimonies were influential and the FCC allowed this “call-jamming” technology to be used in prisons under certain rules.

 

Securus Technologies now works with many prisons nationwide to implement monitoring and other technologies that are important to increasing security. Their Wireless Containment Solution, or WCS, identifies the use of unauthorized cell phone numbers and then uses electronics to block the cell phone’s signal from reaching a tower, preventing the communication from being made. This system blocked 1.7 million communication attempts made by illegal cell phones during a recent 1-year period – in just eight prisons. Using contraband cell phones, gangs in prisons frequently try and run illegal activities carried out by members on the outside. As potentially hundreds of millions of communication attempts can be blocked as this technology takes hold in many more prisons, we can be assured that a lot of crime has been and will be prevented in our communities.