Gov Bentley calls for FCC's help in jamming prison cell phone signals

Published: May. 25, 2016 at 1:58 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2016 at 2:18 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is one of 10 Republican governors to ask the Federal Communications Commission to give states the authority to jam the signals of cell phones inmates are using behind bars.

The illegal use of cell phones by state inmates is a problem we have reported on for years.

Cell phones are considered contraband, but still routinely make their way behind bars.

The letter sent to FCC  Chairman Thomas Wheeler by the 10 governors encourages him to help states deal with the illegal cell phones behind bars that create such a security threat for guards and others. States need FCC permission to block cell signals.

The governors say the technology would be strictly limited to prisons, and that society outside would not suffer.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Chairman Wheeler said he agreed contraband cellphones are a serious problem and would work with FCC Commissioners on the issue.

Back in January after we uncovered a convicted murderer using a cell phone to live stream through Periscope, corrections leaders told us they had been looking for new technology to fight back.

One option is a Managed Access System, which prevents unauthorized cell phones from sending and receiving calls, text messages, and data. The estimated cost is $1 million per facility.

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