Robert Johnson is a corrections officer in the state of South Carolina who loved his career path. Then something happened that would change his outlook forever. Waking up one morning, Robert heard a loud ‘boom’ that was his front door being kicked in and he knew immediately that he was in danger. His wife was asleep in another bedroom and Robert wanted to draw the attention away from her so he called at the intruder. After a struggle ensued, Johnson was shot six times at point blank range. His survival was indeed a miracle.
Why would someone want him dead? A couple of weeks prior he had found a package that was full of contraband at his job at Lee Correctional Facility. The value of the package was estimated to be $50,000. The prison gang that is was intended for had used contraband cell phones to put a hit out on Johnson. Since then, Johnson has left the profession but he continues to work in the industry as a consultant. The company he works for, Securus Technologies, uses technology to render cellular phones inside of prisons inoperable. Johnson has turned his attention to ensure that a cell phone is never used by another inmate ever again.
Robert Johnson is fortunate to be alive, as hundreds of hits have bee organized by prison gangs using contraband cell phones inside of prisons. One such victim was a young baby in Georgia, whose hit was organized by three inmates inside of prison. In one year alone, some 8,300 cell phones were found inside of correctional facilities. The actual number of phones still inside is unknown, but one company wants that number to be inconsequential.
The solution the Securus Technologies has for facilities across the country is a cell phone blocking technology. It works by using special cellular tower that the phones connect to. Once the phone connect to the tower, it can control what calls and texts can go out. What good are cell phones that cannot make calls or text? That’s the question that Securus wants inmates to ask themselves because prison officials already know the answer: they are no good at all. Because of Johnson’s work, the state of Florida has installed the technology at three facilities in the state. Securus officials estimate that their cell blocking technology has blocked 1.7 million calls in the United States. Some of those blocked calls surely saved a few lives.