Inmate Communication

Cell Phones in Prisons Could Be Dangerous as a Weapon

The story of a former correctional staff member is alarming, so much so that it’s enough to bring awareness to what one seemingly innocent device could do in the wrong hands. Robert Johnson worked at the Lee Correctional Institution based in South Carolina for over fifteen years. His main duty was to confiscate any illegal contraband that entered the facility. One day, Mr. Johnson was just doing his job and had prevented an abnormally large package from from being released into the facility. The package’s contents contained roughly $50,000 worth of contraband that was from a prison gang. Two weeks after Mr. Johnson had intercepted that contraband, trouble came knocking on his door.

 

It was around 5:30 in the morning on March 5, 2010 and Robert Johnson was routinely getting ready for another day at work. That’s when he had heard the loud bang of someone kicking down his front door. Mr. Johnson had a gut instinct that someone had put a hit on him, he needed to divert the man away from his bedroom where his wife was sleeping. He alerted the thug over to the hallway and they started to fight until the man had pushed Mr. Johnson and raised his gun at him. Mr. Johnson was shot six times in his chest and stomach areas, he fought hard on the operating table and now lives to tell his story.

 

The hit on Robert Johnson was initiated over a cell phone and the hitman was an ex-convict that was paid with a Greendot card loaded with $6,000 in it. Cell phones are becoming more of an issue in incarceration environments everywhere across the United States. Securus Technologies is a technology solutions company for law enforcement agencies in the U.S., they have created the Wireless Containment System that can detect any unauthorized cell phone activity and prevent calls made from an inmate.

 

The company has setup a mobile phone network where they can have access to all of the numbers that were dialed and decide whether or not to block it. Only known numbers in the facility are allowed to connect and this helps to prevent many of the atrocious crimes that could have happened, like the one in Robert Johnson’s story. Securus Technologies have reported that the United States prisons that use their state-of-the-art Wireless Containment System, have blocked approximately 1.7 million unauthorized calls made from inmates.