Cell Phone Jamming Only Way To Prevent Inmates From Using Illegal Cell Phones
Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/11/2009 -- CellAntenna Corporation supports the Safe Prison Act that would allow correctional officers to using jamming equipment in prisons and jails. The bill, sponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, allows prisons to petition the Federal Communications Commission to use cell phone-jamming devices as long as they don't cause interference with bona fide communications. Current federal law prohibits state and local agencies from using jamming equipment. CellAntenna has demonstrated in the past that its jamming equipment can with complete accuracy block illegal cell phones without disrupting prison communications and outside communications. Correctional officials across the nation favor using jamming to block illegal cell phones used in prisons by inmates. CellAntenna has been leading efforts to change the law. While CellAntenna supports the Safe Prison Act, it believes that before Congress passes the final version, some changes will need to be made.
The Safe Prison Act as drafted allows a cell carrier, not prison authorities, to have control over the deployment of jamming equipment in prisons. Since illegal cell phones in prisons are of such high cash value, CellAntenna believes this provision could easily allow low level personnel to be compromised. A provision of the bill also forces the FCC to look at other forms of technology and does not include any sensitivity to the cost of this other technology nor take into consideration the strained budgets that states across the nation are facing. Jamming is still the most economical and practical solution to cell phones in prisons. Finally it sets no timetable for cell phone carriers to perform tests to ensure that jamming will not affect outside communications. CellAntenna believes that changes to the provisions are needed to give the legislation the teeth that is needed to combat illegal cell phones in prisons.
“I applaud the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s action in voting to allow cell phone jamming as a strong first step in allowing prison authorities the tools needed to stop illegal cell phones in prisons,” said Howard Melamed, President and CEO of CellAntenna Corporation. “While this is a good first step, the bill needs some safeguards built in the final version so that it does not become just piece of window dressing allowing cell phone carriers to delay jamming while still making billions from illegal cell phones.
The tragic death of Carl Lackl of Baltimore that was ordered by an illegal cell phone in a prison, must not have been in vain,” continued Melamed. “That is why this legislation as it works its way through Congress needs additional work so nobody is ever murdered because of an illegal cell phone in prison.”
Illegal cell phones smuggled into prisons or thrown over prison fences for retrieval by inmates is on the rise across the United States with horrendous threats to the public safety. An inmate in Texas used an illegal cell phone to make death threats against a state senator. In Baltimore, Maryland, another inmate facing trial and being held at the state’s version of a Super Max prison used an illegal cell phone to order the murder of a prosecution witness. In addition to these examples illegal cell phones have been used to conduct drug deals and order gang violence from within prison walls. Correctional officials nationwide have complained that it is nearly impossible to stop the flow of illegal cell phones into prisons.
Cell phone jamming has been proven to be both cost-efficient and effective with the budget restrictions that affecting state governments and accurate in shutting down cell signals to illegal phones. Last year, CellAntenna demonstrated for the South Carolina Department of Corrections that full magnitude of what cell phone jamming could achieve without disrupting normal prison operations and outside communications. Despite this evidence, The cell phone industry and CTIA continue to oppose CellAntenna and correctional officers in their efforts to authorize cell phone jamming.