The U.S prison system is unique in a number of ways. One of these is the large presence of extremely powerful and far-reaching prison gangs. These gangs wield enormous power within the prison system. In fact, they often act as the de facto law enforcement within the prison population itself. But this self-policing mechanism among the inmate population is a double-edged sword.
Prison gangs can help corrections officers maintain the order and safety of the prison. This has been the case ever since the first racially integrated prisons took hold. The racial dynamic of the U.S. prison system means that inmate populations in many states have the natural tendency to form racial gangs, looking out for members of their own race so as to avoid exploitation. This allows each individual gang member to enjoy a strong measure of protection, with the gang acting as one organism, collectively dropping its deadly hammer on whoever would dare bother one of its members.
But these gangs, when allowed to operate in ways that are not conducive to prison security, can quickly become a terrifying threat. One of the most serious problems, in recent years, throughout the U.S. prison system has been the widespread proliferation of cheap cell phones. These phones are bad enough when they are in the hands of rank-and-file prisoners, being used to avoid paying for calling on the prison phone system, an important source of revenues for the institution, and being used to circumvent security protocols that are in place on the prison’s phone banks.
When these cell phones fall into the hands of prison gang leadership, however, the situation can quickly turn deadly. Contraband cell phones have been used to intimidate witnesses, undermining the integrity of the entire criminal justice system. They have also been used to get information on confidential informants and other inmates that have cooperated with the authorities in the past. These situations almost always turn deadly, with prison gangs usually maintaining a no-snitch policy, where anyone found out to be cooperating with the police is executed.
Of even graver concern is the role that contraband phones have played in the role of various assaults on prison guards. In the last two decades, one of the most serious occupational risks of being a corrections officer has been the possibility of being murdered by prison gangs. All of these incidents were the result of gang leaders having access to contraband cell phones.
Now, Securus Technologies has developed what it calls the Wireless Containment System. Able to completely block all unauthorized calls placed on cell phones from within the prison where it is installed, the Wireless Containment System may be the final blow against the threat posed by smuggled cell phones in the nation’s prison system.