prison-phoneCell phones facilitate crimes and allow inmates to continue to threaten the public while inside correctional institution walls.

Cell phones are often a symptom of other illegal activity.

So, in order to protect and secure, it is necessary to detect all mobile devices and alert the corrections officers on their location to take action.

Federal and state prison authorities have confiscated thousands of illegal phones in the past few years and the Federal Communications Commission and correctional officials say their use poses a public safety risk. Contraband cell phones have been used by inmates to arrange the murders of witnesses and public safety officers, traffic in drugs, and manage criminal enterprises — ultimately, jeopardizing the safety of America’s communities. Other activities such as parties and social media presence by the prisons while in prison are embarrassing to the facilities. The FCC has made it a top priority to put an end to illegal cell phone use in prisons but keeping them out is the challenge.

The FCC continues to identify new technology solutions that legally and effectively address cell phones in prisons. As of now, most efforts have been aimed towards a form of cell phone jamming: whitelisting authorized phones and redirecting or blocking unauthorized ones. However, this misses the sought over objective — it settles for mediocre while public safety demands the ideal.

The ideal: A software that not only can eliminate illegal cellular activity but can identify how the phones are coming in and where and when they are used in a prison.

In reality, correctional facilities require a technology that will continually monitor the facility and detect all mobile devices, cellular and WiFi. Once a device is detected, an alert with the exact location of the device is sent to the corrections officers and the device can be immediately apprehended.

The issue: Typical location-based services technologies can be off the mark—sometimes miles off. While okay for some applications, a prison needs precision. Other methods such as dogs are expensive and do not provide continuous coverage.

In a most recent case, AirPatrol visited a correctional facility for a ZoneDefense demonstration and immediately detected and located three previously unknown devices. ZoneDefense’s continuous monitoring identified a corrupt shift of officers where cellular use exploded in contrast to other shifts. With AirPatrol, correctional facilities can operate efficiently and meet the demands of public safety.

With an urgent need to discover mobile devices, correctional facilities are starting to ask the right questions, and neither jamming nor white listing are the right answers.

 


Featured guest blogger: Will Adams for AirPatrol