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Cell Phones Behind Bars

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2009
2 pages
This paper presents a snapshot of the cellular phone problem in corrections facilities and the strategies undertaken to combat the illegal use of cellular phones by prison and jail inmates.
Cellular phone technology advancements and capabilities have been welcomed in today's society as a tremendous benefit; however, they have had a negative impact on corrections officials. Cellular phone use by prison and jail inmates has become an issue of great concern as the problem of illegal use is widespread. Several technologies have been developed to help combat the problem, such as blocking cell phone service and spoofing (or intercepting) cell phone signals. To utilize these technologies, new legislation is being introduced in the U.S. Congress titled, the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009, which would allow prisons and jails to use cell-phone-jamming technology. As corrections officials await legislative relief, they are addressing the problem through other means such as the installation of sensors that detect and find cell phones when in use and the specialized training of dogs to sniff out cell phones.

Date Published: December 1, 2009