One of the most serious problems that have confronted the U.S. prison system over the last decade has been the proliferation of illicit cellular devices. This has posed a major threat to the institutional order, as sophisticated and dangerous prison gangs have gotten a hold of cellular phones, allowing them to effectively and reliably communicate with gang operatives on the outside of prison.
This dynamic has led to an effective nullification of incarceration for some of the most dangerous criminals in the country today. Gang leaders, many of whom are serving extended or even life sentences for committing the most heinous of crimes, are able to act as if they were walking the streets of society. The ability of powerful gang leaders to communicate orders to gang members on the outside has the effect of breaking down the prison walls, enabling some of the worst criminals to continue orchestrating some of the worst crimes the nation has seen.
The access to cheap and highly concealable cellphones has, therefore, been one of the most pressing concerns of recent history within the country’s jails and prisons. That’s why Securus Technologies, one of the leading providers of inmate communications services in the country today, developed its Wireless Containment System. The device is able to act as a normal network tower, causing all cellular devices within range to connect to it. Then, the device allows the operator to either place the call normally, go into listen-only mode, where the operator can hear the entire conversation, or to deny the call entirely. The device is usually used in the latter configuration, instantly blocking any unauthorized call that takes place within the facility.
But the device is able to allow calls placed from authorized devices to pass through normally. Because it is 100-percent effective in blocking all illegal calls, the device has garnered some strong positive reviews from the corrections officers who have been able to use it. After having been deployed throughout various carceral institutions in the West, the device has passed its initial trial runs with stellar marks.
One of the initial concerns was that the device may interfere with legitimate cellular communications of devices located nearby the prisons where it is deployed. While Securus has not yet completely perfected the system’s automatic range-restricting features, there have so far been no reports of the Wireless Containment System seriously interfering with legitimate cell phone traffic.
Based on these preliminary results, the FCC has given Securus the full go-ahead to begin distributing the product nationwide. Securus estimates that, by the end of 2018, the WCS may be deployed in up to half of the nation’s jails and prisons. This is good news for all who care about the safety of both inmates and corrections officers.