The last 50 years have seen the proliferation and adoption of high technology throughout nearly every industry in the United States. Even industries not normally associated with high computational requirements, like agriculture and steel manufacturing, have been revolutionized by technology. This has also been true throughout the nation’s prison system where technology has been rapidly transforming the way in which inmates are housed and how the general public is protected from the most dangerous criminals.
Being a corrections officer has never been an easy job. But prior to the advent of things like self-opening and locking doors and closed-circuit, high-definition television, being a guard in one of the nation’s high-security prisons was often among the most dangerous jobs that one could do. Riots in New York, New Mexico, Colorado and elsewhere claimed the lives of hundreds of corrections officers between 1900 and 1990. Many of these riots resulted from inmates being able to overpower officers while they were performing routine duties that made them vulnerable, such as manually locking doors or transporting dangerous prisoners without specialized gear.
However, prisons began incorporating a great deal of technology starting in the 1980s. Modern prisons are often run from a central guard station where two or three guards can effectively control thousands of inmates through the use of remote door opening and locking mechanisms and a large bank of high-definition CCTV monitors.
But the march of high technology has also proven to be a challenge to modern prisons. One of the areas in which this has been true has been the proliferation of cheap and easily concealable cellphones. These devices have flooded the nation’s prisons over the last 20 years, creating serious problems that have threatened the safety and security of these institutions.
Cellphones have proven to be particularly dangerous once they have fallen into the hands of highly organized gang leaders. There, the phones have been used to order the intimidation of witnesses, assassination of rivals, conduction of high-level drug deals and even the harassment, assault and murder of prison staff. Organized criminal gangs being able to communicate with their foot soldiers on the outside of prison has been one of the most serious threats that have emerged to the nation’s prison system in recent decades.
Now, Securus Technologies, one of the most important providers of inmate communications services and prison security solutions in the country today, has unveiled a product that it calls the Wireless Containment System. This product is able to completely block any illegal cellular communications taking place within its operational radius. It is the first device ever created that has the proven capability to completely eliminate the threat posed by contraband cellphones in the nation’s jails and prisons.