With the almost universal ownership of cellular devices in America, most people think of their cellphones as being an indispensable tool that adds great value to their lives. However, it is precisely the incredible efficiency and convenience of cellphones that can turn them into extremely dangerous weapons when they fall into the wrong hands.
Throughout the last two decades, the U.S. prison system has struggled against the tide of contraband cellphones that have flooded its institutions. With the increasing miniaturization of cellular devices that began occurring at the end of the 1990s, it soon became clear that there was little that the poorly equipped prison system could do to stem the incoming tsunami of illegal phones.
Within the prison environment, a contraband cellphone could fetch $300 or more. And these phones were often rented out by inmates, meaning that the $300 purchase price could often be recouped within just a few weeks. This street-hustle version of inmate communications posed serious enough risks. It allowed inmates to completely bypass the secure communications systems of the prisons. It also enabled inmates to make calls to unauthorized places, like the homes of convicted felons on the outside, as well as allowing inmates to hold conversations at night, keeping other inmates up and undermining the rules of the institutions.
But the far greater threat was that the cellphones would fall into the hands of truly bad inmates. It didn’t take long for this to happen. Soon, contraband cellphones became the preferred communication method of choice for gang leaders and other high-level criminals. They used these devices to carry out their criminal activities, just as they would have been able to do on the street. Because many of these gang leaders commanded literal armies of street soldiers, the easy availability of cellphones quickly served to effectively invalidate their incarceration; there was effectively no limit to what crimes they could commit as long as someone was willing to carry out the order. And for the highly disciplined gangs of places like California, there were always willing soldiers.
But in 2016, Securus Technologies, one of the most advanced prisons security companies in America, finally unveiled a permanent solution to the ongoing problem of contraband cellphones. Known as the Wireless Containment System, the system was able to use a technology originally developed for the battlefields of the Middle Easts in order to intercept and block any calls made by contraband phones.
At institutions where the Wireless Containment System has been deployed, the incidence of illegal outgoing cellular calls has dropped to virtually zero. In fact, the only problem with the Wireless Containment System, so far, has been that it is actually too effective. But with increasing approval for use by the FCC, expect this high-tech anti-gang measure to be coming to a prison near you.