Since the wireless communication revolution started in the early 2000s, contraband mobile phones were considered as the biggest threat to the prison environment. Over the years, almost every criminal gang members started getting such phones to communicate with their gang members who are operating outside. From the initial days, I was sure that it would severely compromise the prison safety and security. The later years showed that my conclusion was correct as even prison officials started facing attacks and death attempts outside prisons – only for enforcing strict prison administration. The later years also showed a spike in such numbers by adding more vulnerability to the jail system.
One of the worst incidents in the series happened in 2010 when a jail official, Robert Johnson faced gun attacks that left him almost dead. During those years, he was an official in a South Carolina-based prison, Lee Correctional Institution. One day, he seized some contraband packages that should have delivered to a prisoner, who is also a gang member. Within two weeks, Johnson was attacked by a thug at his home. The investigation revealed that the prisoner was contacting his friend to attack Johnson for seizing the package. Shockingly, the prisoner was contacting the friend using a contraband phone.
I can confirm that it was showing the flaws of the prison security systems. Additionally, I have noticed cases where even the relatives or family members of prison officials were attacked by gang members for similar reasons. After recovering from the attack, Johnson decided to fight against such contraband phones and spoke about the threats of it almost every stage where he could deliver his experiences. Additionally, he collaborated with prominent prison innovator, Securus Technologies, in its attempt to design a system that could control the illegal phones inside prisons. It ended with a smart Wireless Containment System that produced excellent results so far.
Johnson even met with the communications regulator of the United States, Federal Communications Communication, in March 2017 and explained the threats of contraband. He also explained how WCS of Securus can contain such threats, efficiently. While coming to WCS, it produces excellent results, per my observations. In 2016 July, the firm had deployed the system in eight prisons across the country. A data revealed in July 2017 by Securus showed that WCS could block nearly 1.8 million illegal call attempts during the period.
I learned that the WCS is working like a wireless network over prisons it deployed and blocks unauthorized or unknown calls. However, it would allow calls to known numbers, including friends and family. Considering the growing incidents of prison security breach as well as safety issues, SEC decided to lighten the regulations to adopt technologies like WCS in prison environments. It is expected to drastically reduce the flaws of prison security in the coming months.