The nation’s prison system has long contended with a nearly unstoppable wave of illegal cell phones being introduced into its facilities. While these phones may appear, at first glance, to be relatively benign, they are anything but. Used by highly organized criminal gangs to perpetrate some of the worst crimes imaginable, including the intimidation and even execution of key witnesses, contraband cell phones pose one of the most serious threats to the safety and order of modern prison operations.

 

 

Communication is power

 

The U.S. prison system has long been home to some of the most sophisticated and well-organized prison gangs anywhere in the world. These gangs usually operate on a military-like command structure, with a large number of low-level members, known as soldiers, being commanded by a few key figures in the high-command structure, also known as shot callers. This operational model is both highly effective and extremely dangerous to institutions that these gangs threaten to undermine. Often, the soldiers are held to strict regimes of exercise and training, sometimes exceeding even the level of physical training that actual soldiers in the U.S. armed forced receive.

 

Most of these gangs have large numbers of active members who have been released from prison and are now living on the outside. Because it is typically impossible to renounce one’s membership in one of these prison gangs, these members on the outside of prisons represent a serious threat to law enforcement and the criminal justice system in general. They are more than willing to carry out any order handed down by the gang’s top leadership, even when the leaders are incarcerated in prison.

 

This ability to have orders carried out on the outside of the prison’s walls make today’s prison gangs extremely dangerous. But the key factor in their ability to continue causing criminal mayhem, even while incarcerated, is their ability to communicate easily and effectively with the outside world. This has almost always been accomplished through illegal cell phones, which are smuggled into the nation’s jails and prisons through people working on behalf of the gangs.

 

But now, Securus Technologies, one of the nation’s leading providers of inmate communications and prison security solutions, has developed a new technology that promises to completely eliminate all unauthorized cellular communications within the nation’s prisons.

 

Known as the Wireless Containment System, this device is able to intercept and deny routing to any cellular call that is placed within prison grounds. Inmates attempting to make outgoing calls on unauthorized devices will simply hear a message stating that their call could not be completed. This makes it far more difficult for prison gangs to communicate with their members on the outside, sharply reducing their ability to carry out ongoing criminal enterprises.