Two Sides to Prison Cell Phone Jamming

There’s a big debate going on between corrections officials and public interest groups over the problem of contraband cell phones within prison systems. On one side, the corrections folks want to electronically jam their illegal use for illicit activities such as planning escapes or running criminal activities outside prison walls. But the opposing view is that the jamming prison phones will backfire, causing collateral damage to nearby legal phones, and possibly let loose the jamming technology and equipment for illicit activities in the public mainstream. Following are excerpts from two excellent articles, proponents on opposite sides of the issue.

Pro Jamming
From The Baltimore Sun, 7/15/09
By Tricia Bishop

“Maryland’s top corrections official plans to testify today before a Senate committee in support of federal legislation that would make signal-jamming technology legal for use in the country’s prisons, where contraband cell phones have become a deadly – growing problem.”

“Cell phones are smuggled into prisons by the thousands, often by bribed correctional officers, visitors and contractors. They’re hidden in food shipments, concealed in body cavities, tossed over prison walls and – in Brazil – flown in by carrier pigeons.”

See FULL STORY from Baltimore Sun

Con Jamming
From Epicenter (, 7/14/2009
By Ryan Singel

“Letting the nation’s prisons jam wireless signals to stop inmates from using contraband mobile phones sets a dangerous precedent and is the wrong solution to a vexing problem, public interest groups told a Senate committee Tuesday, just a day before a hearing to consider a jamming bill.”

“One company, CellAntenna hopes to capitalize on the rogue dialing. It has developed a jammer it claims will block only cellphones within a prison and not interfere with public safety and the prisons’ own wireless communication signals.”

See FULL STORY from Wired/Epicenter

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