Moves are underway to block the signals that allow prison inmates to make calls on unauthorized cell phones. California Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate revealed on Thursday that the state was testing technology at certain undisclosed prisons in a bid to block unauthorized cell phone calls being made by prisoners.
The revelation came as Cate was attending the National Public Safety Technology Conference in the Californian city of Sacramento. “It’s been very successful in just our first foray into this high tech solution,” Cate says. The use of illegal cell phones in Californian prisons has exploded in recent years, with the two hundred and fifty cell phones that were confiscated from prisoners five years ago in 2006 having exploded to an unbelievable ten thousand, seven hundred and sixty that were confiscated last year. More than two thousand and one hundred cell phones have already been taken from prisoners this year alone.
Cate says that if the technology proves to be a total success, it will be implemented in all prisons throughout the state of California, although the cost is high – about a million dollars per facility. However, negotiations with the telephone service providers in the state could knock that cost down. “We may be able to get a discount because we’re on the cutting edge of this technology,” he says.
The Federal Communications Commission says that the technology needs to show that it will not accidentally interfere with the use of cell phones outside of prisons.