Thursday, March 17, 2011

Texas one step closer to jamming illegal cell phone signals in prisons

 By Michael Willams, Backgate Website

Cell Phone Jamming Unit
Just days after Stiles unit escapee David Puckett was arrested in Nebraska after using a cell phone to assist him in fleeing the prison unit in Beaumont, TDCJ prison chief Brad Livingston has called for testing of signal jamming equipment at Stiles. Puckett is said to have used a smuggled cell phone to not only Facebook with a female friend in Nebraska that assisted with his escape plan, but also made cell phone calls over a long period of time. State officials claim the jammer testing could begin as soon as next week.

The only hurdle in the testing comes as radio signal jammers are in violation of federal law. We are told that there are some variations of the signal jammers that may pass under the radar but its not clear which technology the state is trying to purchase. The FCC also noted that there have not been any prosecutions under the 1934 based federal law in "many years". And that no one has filed any complaints regarding jamming of signals which normally consists of law enforcement agencies jamming signals during hostage situations and the like. Texas state legislator Jerry Madden stated that each cell phone jammer will cost the state from $500,000 to 2.5 million per prison unit. He stated that TDCJ should think about altering it's state housing policies to make employees pay more for state issued housing. Possibly market value. Despite the current budget shortfalls, legislators vow to find the money to secure state prisons. If TDCJ outfitted all prisons at the basic levels, it would cost taxpayers close to 58 million dollars. But surely only the worst facilities would be outfitted if the plan does materialize at all.

As an editorial on the situation, i have to say that the law put into place outlawing cell phones in prison has no deterrent factor whatsoever. When inmates are caught red handed with the cell phones, if they are prosecuted at all the back log of open cases filed or investigated by TDCJ OIG officials goes back years. Then you have to contend with county court systems that are just as back logged. Many times inmates have already paroled and been on the streets for years before the charges are even heard. The same goes for prosecuting staff members who are caught introducing the phones. They resign, are fired and move on. Sometimes going un-prosecuted. Hows that for a deterrent ? 

7 comments:

  1. $500,000-2.5 million? Per unit? That's ridiculous. I know electronics are expensive, but damn! That's crazy-talk. Can't we just start offering a nice bump to the inmates trust fund for any tips leading to a cell phone capture? What do you mean that would never work? :-)

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  2. I think the jamming would be okay, depending on the range of the jammers. One night on our unit we had zero outside phone lines when a main trunk line had been cut down the road. Only because of cell phones were we able to communicate with the duty warden, the phone company, and the local hospital for a couple of transports that night.

    A rare occurrence, but a major one just the same.

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  3. I would think the jammers could be disabled to allow the Warden to make or receive a call. I guess that opens another can of worms. I can't understand why TDCJ always seems to pay top price for technology that is almost obsolete. Do the vendors need excess profits in order to give Texas elected officials a referral fee? It is hard not to notice that the vendors who stand to make the most profit make the greatest campaign contributions. I've have talked to some vendors who do not make political contributions. The State really gives them a hard time. It is not uncommon for the non-contributing vendors to be forced near bankruptsy by the State's rejection of their shipments and failure to pay.

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  4. The best way is to turn on a cell phone jammer. LOL....Maybe you can suggest the gov. to install some in the public places like a theater and restaurant and the like. Or just go to the online shops to get one for yourself in a cheap price. I can recommend a site for you , http://www.jammerall.com/ , you can take a look there and maybe you'll get what you want.

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