I have noticed that some revolutionary changes happen as an aftermath to a few painful incidents. Though it becomes an endless pain for the victims during the course, it has the power to change the way the particular system was working until then. I can quote the example of contraband phone usage by the inmates of American prisons, and the deadly attack on Robert Johnson, a correction officer from South Carolina. Since the mobile phone technology expanded post-2000, contraband phones were creating bigger threats to prison as well as prison officials’ security.
However, the authorities were not keen on addressing the threats in this regard though there were several incidents of crimes using the contraband phones. But, in 2010, the attack on Johnson of Lee Correctional Institution brought greater attention towards the need of controlling such phones behind bars. He received seven bullet shots at his home by an attacker, an inmate who got released just a few days before the attack. The investigation showed that Johnson was attacked due to he seized a contraband package that was dispatched to a criminal gang inside the prison just two weeks before the attack. It also showed that the gang members were contacting the attacker using a contraband phone from inside the prison.
I had noticed several similar incidents during those days where the prison officials or their immediate relatives were attacked by criminal gangs due to their conflicts with inmates. After narrowly escaping from death, Johnson decided to fight against contraband phones and spoke about his experience wherever he could. In March last year, he presented the details before the telecom regulator of the country, Federal Communications Commission, and explained the process of controlling such phones including its need in prison security. It was required to get the approvals of the regulator as there were federal laws to block or jam signals.
By that time, Johnson started working with Securus Technologies, an innovator in the prison technology ecosystem, as a paid consultant. Interestingly, the company has come up with an innovative product to block contraband phone calls called Wireless Containment System. According to the officials of Securus, it is virtually putting a mobile phone network over the prisons and allows only calls from known numbers. The antenna of the system is highly powerful enough to attract all the incoming and outgoing calls in the given locality, and unauthorized calls are blocked using the smart technology.