The Federal Communications Commission Tells TDCJ to Conduct Test of Cellphone Jammer
12-16-2008 Washington, DC
The Federal Communication Commission today announced that it is okay for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to test a cellphone jammer at the Travis County State Jail on Thursday. The planned test was cancelled after Texas Attorney General advised TDCJ would be violating federal law if they conducted the test.
Robert Kenny a spokesperson for the FCC stated “We would encourage Texas authorities to move forward with their test. We recognize the concerns of public safety regarding this complex issue and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin remains committed to trying to work with public safety officials to address their needs.”
The South Carolina Department of Corrections successfully tested a cellphone jammer in their state in November which successfully blocked signals on the inside of the prison, without interfering with outside cellphone users.
CellAntenna Corporation is the company marketing the $1 million jamming system. “Chairman Martin has publicly offered support to law enforcement and prisons seeking to utilize cell phone jamming equipment and is willing to work with them,” FCC spokesman Robert Kenny said after South Carolina's test in November.
The cost of the system will become a major issue this legislative session as funding for the prison system becomes a major issue. Texas prison officers are now number 48th on the US correctional pay scale. Retaining correctional officers seems to be the biggest problem the State of Texas is facing. Low wages and the inability to attract people willing to make this a career are one reason being cited for corruption in the prison system.