Since the late 1990s, one of the most serious threats to confront the U.S. prison system has been the proliferation of contraband cell phones. Starting around the end of the 90s, the miniaturization and rapidly declining prices of cell phones meant that they were both more available and easier than ever to smuggle into the nation’s prison system.
Today, many of the nation’s prisons struggle to find solutions to the problems posed by these illicit means of communication. The phones themselves often fetch huge sums when smuggled successfully inside of jails or prisons. A Tracfone that would normally go for $10 at a convenience store may fetch upwards of $400 once it has been introduced into a prison. Inmates and gang members use the phones as a means of generating revenue, renting them out and charging fees per call for their use. This not only helps to fund organized criminal activities within the nation’s prisons, making gangs stronger and undermining the safety and integrity of the institutions where they are house, but it also robs the institutions and the company’s providing the prison phone system and related services of much-needed revenues.
But even this is not the worst aspect of the illegal cell phone problem. Highly organized prison gangs use the phones in order to communicate with foot soldiers on the outside of prison. Because many of the most powerful and largest gangs in the nation’s prisons may have up to half of their memberships operating outside of prison, this allows gang leaders to carry out criminal activities just as if they were freely walking the streets.
The types of crimes that this situation leads to are often horrific. For example, there have been thousands of cases of witness intimidation where the use of illegal cell phones by incarcerated gang leaders has been implicated. This can include physical assaults and even the murder of key witnesses in major criminal cases, putting the public directly in harm’s was and seriously undermining the integrity of the criminal justice system in the U.S.
Securus Technologies, one of the leading provider of inmate communications services in the country, has unveiled a new, innovative system that may finally put a permanent lid on the contraband cell phone problem that has so plagued the nation’s carceral institutions. Called the Wireless Containment System, the apparatus is able to successfully block 100-percent of unauthorized cell phone calls being placed within the prison’s grounds. The system also gives officers the capability to detect any unauthorized device that is currently turned on within its radium of operation.
In facilities where the system has been deployed, officers are reporting a nearly 100-percent success rate in confiscating contraband phones. The WCS may spell the end of prison gangs being afforded easy outside communications.
The correctional industry is crowded with many different crime prevention and inmate communications service providers, but Securus Technologies has been able to dominate the market since the time of its inception in 1986. The company has developed its proprietary technology to offer efficient and economic inmate communication services to the prisoners, named ConnectUs. It is a technology that is far superior to what other inmate communication service providers’ offer. It helps in increased communication opportunities, low cost, and seamless communication without any hindrances. Securus Technologies has been able back up its products and services with highly efficient customer service as well. The customer service of Securus Technologies has received the Gold Stevie Awards, which is one of the most respected awards to be received in the corporate world.
More than 1.2 million inmates across the length and breadth of North America depend on the inmate communications services offered by Securus Technologies. For years, the company has been able to ensure that its services remain consistent and superior to its counterparts. It is for this reason, the focus and priority of the company have always been extensive research and development. The announcement made by Rick Smith, CEO of Securus Technologies, mentioned about the investment of $600 million for patent acquisition and developing new technologies. It is what is definitely going to give Securus Technologies an edge over the competition.
The law enforcement officers are pleased with the products and services offered by Securus Technologies. It has helped them curb the crime rate in their respective areas, capture the dangerous criminals, and keep a check on the suspicious elements inside the prison with high precision. The law enforcement officers write letters of appreciation to the company o a regular basis, and it is this love and satisfaction that the company shared with others through a press release online recently.
My job as a corrections officer is to keep the inmates as safe as possible while I conduct the rest of my duties in and around the prison. If we allow any contraband to get in the hands of the inmates, they make it a dangerous place for everyone. To slow down the flow of all those illegal items from getting into our jail, we use a number of preventative measures. While none of these measures is more valuable than the other, we feel by working them all we stand the best chance of keeping the jail safer.
One of the most productive things we do each day is to meet each visitor that comes into the jail and make sure they are not bringing anything inside that could be used by the inmates. It might come as a surprise to some that these crafty inmates can make weapons out of the most common of items ranging from a toothbrush to a pen. That is what makes it so hard for me and my team to keep the jail absolutely safe. One of the issues we deal with all the time is visitors who are really there just to see a loved one who bring something they think is innocent but do not realize how an inmate can turn it into something dangerous.
When Securus Technologies installed a new inmate call monitoring system in the jail, we discovered that we now had a new resource available that was going to allow us to find more contraband than ever before. Our team trusts this company, they are in thousands of jails around this country and the entire staff of 1,000 employees follow their CEO Richard Smith in believing they are making the world a safer place for everyone to live. We were going to allow that team to sit down with us and show us exactly what we could expect once we got familiar with the software.
So once me and the team were trained to use the LBS software, we could not wait to see the results of monitoring calls in a new manner. It wasn’t long before we uncovered chatter from an inmate who was talking about how he and his cellmate were using drugs after they were supposed to be in bed for the night. One call revealed how an inmate was acquiring and selling prescription drugs to other inmates. The most disturbing of those calls was about a visitor who was going to get pieces of a weapon to the inmate over a period of weeks so to not arouse suspicion. The inmate was intent on seriously hurting an officer, and the information could as well have saved his life.
I am currently employed in a prison in New Mexico, and we have the biggest concentration of gang members in our facility than any nearby correctional units. That reason alone makes my job extremely dangerous because these inmates are mostly doing life sentences, and killing an officer is not going to make their time in jail any more challenging, in fact, it may get them in more with the gangs they represent.
For these reasons and more, we have to separate the gang population and monitor their activities closely each day. If the word comes down from a gang leader to kill, the soldiers must obey. Our job is to try an intercept those orders any way possible. I was in charge of listening in on inmate conversations over the jail phone system, but my efforts were not bearing fruit because these inmates use a very complicated communication system full of coded terms they only understand.
Even though I was able to pick up on a few pieces of information, I believe the inmates were only giving me small chunks of information to keep me away from the bigger score. It was around this time the jail system employed the services of Securus Technologies to install a new inmate communication system, and my training was up first. I was impressed how much information i was able to learn concerning deciphering coded terms between gang members.
Using the LBS software, I was able to overhear a communication between two top gang leaders who had planned a hit that afternoon on a rival gang member. We were able to stop the attack and separate the players before anything went down. In the last few weeks, I was able to break up the gang violence significantly and make the jail safer for officers and inmates alike.