After testifying before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington last week about contraband cell phones in prisons, South Carolina prisons director Bryan Stirling told South Carolina Radio Network he came away from the meeting encouraged. “The FCC is taking it very, very seriously. And the US Department of Justice is taking it very seriously.”
State Department of Corrections (SCDC) officials have focused on the potential danger ever since a then-captain at Lee Correctional Institution was shot and gravely injured at his home eight years ago in what investigators say was a plot organized by an inmate with a cell phone.
Stirling said cell phone service providers see a problem and want to cooperate with prisons officials to combat it. “I think the wireless carries understand that they need to come to the table and hopefully work with us,” he said. “And that’s what they said they would do.”
After the meeting, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released the following statement: “The illegal use of wireless devices in prisons is a major threat to the safety and welfare of correctional facility employees, other inmates, and the public. This must change, and fast.
“The FCC can’t meet this difficult challenge alone. I’m grateful to our federal partners at the Justice Department and Commerce Department, state correction officials, solutions providers, wireless carriers, and public safety experts for their participation in this important discussion.
For more information on the FCC’s actions on this topic, please visit https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/contraband-wireless-devices, or contact the agency’s ombudsman at firstname.lastname@example.org.