In the prison system of the United States, one of the most serious threats to emerge over the last two decades has been the proliferation of contraband cellular devices. Aside from the immediate problems these cause, such as inmates illegally renting them out for use and prisoners circumventing the pay phones that the prison uses to generate revenue, these phones present a serious danger to the safety and security of the institutions into which they are introduced.
Throughout the country’s prison system, powerful gangs have risen to dominate the course of everyday life. Many people do not fully understand just how powerful modern prison gangs have become. In many of the state prison systems, such as that in California, almost every inmate in any given institution will either be a member or an associate of a major prison gang.
These gangs typically break down along racial lines, but there are exceptions. In California, for instance, two of the most powerful gangs are the Surenos or Southern Mexicans and the Nortenos or Northern Mexicans. While these two gangs are comprised of precisely the same ethnicity, they are bitter rivals, often engaging in open warfare.
But the racial component of most of the gangs, combined with the mandatory integration of the U.S. prison system, has led to a situation where the gangs enforce a de facto law within the prison system, to which all inmates must adhere. Many people are surprised to learn that the prison guards and staff at many of the nation’s carceral institutions permit these gangs to act as a sort of secondary police force, operating as a bulwark to maintain the social order of the prison, by violence, if necessary.
But while these gangs are permitted to act as enforcers of the social order within prison, when they are allowed to extend their nefarious reach outside of the prison’s walls, they can quickly pose a serious threat to safety, both of the public and the institutions where they are housed.
When these gangs have easy access to contraband cell phones, they can use them for everything from conducting high-level drug deals to ordering hits on key witnesses in ongoing prosecutions. For this reason, the elimination of all contraband cell phones has been one of the top priorities of prison administrators for the past few decades.
Now, Securus Technologies, one of the nation’s leading providers of inmate communications services, has unveiled its plans to distribute its Wireless Containment System to prisons all across the nation. The system is capable of blocking 100 percent of unauthorized cellular calls placed from within the institutions where it is installed. Securus says that, soon, the threat of contraband cell phones will be a thing of the past.