Cellphones are illegal in just about any prison in the United States. In the outside world, cellphones are common and easy to obtain. In prison, many inmates will barter their way into obtaining an illegal cellphone.
Prisoners may use these phones to send text messages or calls to loved ones. They may also use them to access the Internet for social media and entertainment. However, many prisoners will use these devices to carry out crimes whilst behind bars. These crimes vary from fraud to ordering assassinations.
Many inmates were caught carrying out fraud using cellphones in one prison in Georgia. A mix of 51 prisoners and staff members were found to be in on the scheme. The inmates would use the phones to call random people and tell them that they missed their jury duty. They gave the victims the option to wire money to their account of go to jail.
In South Carolina, a inmate was caught ordering a hit on a prison guard. Using his illegal cellphone, he ordered an assassination order of $6,000. If the prison could have prevented cellphone usage, this may have never happened.
Many prisons have tried to confiscate and circumvent cellphone smuggling into prisons. Particularly, prisons want to keep cellphones out of the hands of high level gang members. Just like drugs, cellphones can be smuggled into prisons through many means including family visits and shady staff members.
Managed Access Solutions is a product by Securus Technologies to prevent illegal cellphone usage in prisons. It does not really work like a typical cellphone jamming system. The technology essentially creates a private cellphone network within prisons. This will allow prisons to control and keep track of phone calls being made within the area. This will allow prisons to blacklist unwanted cellphone usage and even track down the individuals with illegal cellphones.
MAS is compatible with 2G, 3G, and 4G signals, which is every type of phone signal used in the United States. This will also control unauthorized Internet access by inmates. Prison authorities will be able to specify specific parameters to control and limit phone calls and data usage.
The technology is currently FCC approved and is already being deployed in multiple prisons. One state prison has claimed that they have blocked 35,000 unwanted phone calls just within one month. Prisons have already been able to identify inmates with phones as well as discover SIM card smuggling methods.