The escape last week by an inmate from a state prison in Dorchester County prison highlights a growing problem at South Carolina prisons.
State Department of Corrections (SCDC) Director Bryan Sterling said contraband cellphones are a problem. “No longer are people stopped from continuing their criminal ways from behind bars,” he told reporters last week. “They are physically incarcerated, but they are no longer virtually incarcerated. They could be on Facebook, Twitter, every kind of social media.”
The escaped convict Jimmy Causey was captured Friday in Austin, Texas. SCDC investigators say they believe Causey used a cellphone smuggled into the jail by a flying drone.
State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said state prisons aren’t allowed to block cellular signals. “It is senseless to me that the federal government continues to prohibit state agencies and state correctional officials from blocking cellphones,” Keel said.
The Federal Communications Commission said the law allows it to grant signal jamming only to other federal agencies, not state or local governments.
Causey escaped from the Lieber Correctional Institution on the Fourth of July. Stirling said Causey placed a dummy in his bed to fake out officers in the Dorchester County prison.
It was similar to what Causey did in his first escape in 2005 from a high-security prison in Columbia. At that time, SCDC investigators said he hid in garbage aND was able to sneak out of the Broad River Correctional Institute on a truck.