In the nation’s prison system, few threats pose as dire a risk to institutional order and the safety of the public as the proliferation of illegal cell phones. As these devices have gotten ever-smaller over the last two decades, the number of them appearing within the nation’s carceral facilities has grown exponentially.
As a result, it has become an urgent priority of prison staff, administrators and contractors to come up with a permanent fix to the problem. It is estimated that prisoner access to contraband cell phones leads to thousands upon thousands of crimes being committed each year. The phones are used by prisoners for everything from making unauthorized phone calls to friends on the outside of prison to ordering hits on correctional staff. Even when used for seemingly benign purposes, these phones pose a serious threat to the order of the institutions and the integrity of the criminal justice system.
Cell phones are the favored tool of prison gangs
One of the most powerful forces in the modern American prison system is the patchwork of prison gangs that exist within the nation’s correctional facilities. These gangs are often far more than what one may picture a typical street gang as being. With memberships in the thousands and a strict, hierarchic command structure, these gangs often have the discipline of a military unit and the earning power of a corporation.
And most of what the prison gangs do resembled the role that the Italian Mafia once played throughout America’s large cities. Gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood, the Mexican Mafia and the Black Guerrilla Family are not small-time drug organizations, they are extremely well-organized and versatile criminal organizations that extend from coast to coast in the nation’s prison system. What makes many of these gangs even more dangerous is that they may have as many members currently operating outside of prison as inside.
The primary means by which these organizations carry out their illegal trades from behind bars is through the use of contraband cell phones, which are typically smuggled into the prison by inmates, guards or visiting family members. Once inside, the gangs can use the cell phones as a secure means of communicating with foot soldiers on the outside, effectively allowing them to carry criminal activities just as they would have been able to had they not been incarcerated in the first place.
But now, Securus Technologies, one of the nation’s leading providers of inmate communications solutions, has a technology that may permanently end the ability of gangs to use illegal cell phones. Their Wireless Containment System has a 100-percent success rate of blocking unauthorized cell phones. In institutions where it has been installed, the system has completely removed the ability of prison gangs to carry out their trade using cell phones.