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The use of signal jammers became the most discussed topic

Perfectjammer 2019-12-02

An agreement reached this week in the nation's capital could help South Carolina's efforts to end the thousands of illegal mobile phones that infest state prisons and fuel crime behind bars.

Correctional Director Bryan Stirling said telecom companies agreed Monday to participate in limited testing of technologies that could block the signals of smuggled phones, a move the sector has long been opposed to..

This commitment was made following a meeting organized by the Federal Communications Commission, which was attended by several heads of prisons and those responsible for the wireless industry. It took place just weeks after a murderous riot in a South Carolina jail, attributed at least in part to smuggled cellphones.

Illegal cell phones are a chronic problem in the country's prisons. In South Carolina, they were used to organize the murder of a prison officer, to prepare for an escape and to commit all kinds of fraud. Clashes around the smuggling helped spark a riot that left Lee dead and 22 injured on April 15, officials said. Inmates used their illicit phone to stir up trouble.

Seizures of smuggled phones are on the rise, and last week federal prosecutors indicted 14 former employees of the State Prison Service for smuggling. Even with 6,200 phones seized in state prisons last year, devices remain ubiquitous.

The telecommunications industry has long opposed the cell phone jammer, claiming that it could interfere with legal users of nearby cells. But several companies, including Verizon, A & T, Sprint and T-Mobile, have agreed to participate in tests of various platforms that can block all calls or just those who are not allowed, said Stirling.

To achieve broader change, supporters should always change a decades-old law that limits the ability of public agencies to scramble public airwaves. Nevertheless, they would probably have better chances if mobile phone companies were on board, Stirling said.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association and the Association of State Correctional Administrators issued a joint statement at the end of the meeting, hailing "the beginning of an important partnership" aimed at eliminating the dangers of smuggled phones.