Resolving contraband cell phones in prisons is a matter of public safety
Reston, Virginia (PRNewsWire) – July 10, 2017 – GTL, an innovation leader in correctional technology, education solutions that assist in rehabilitating inmates, and payment services solutions for government, encourages the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take immediate action to address the nationwide public safety epidemic of contraband cell phones in jails and prisons.
As another example of the dangers of contraband cell phones in correctional facilities is drawing national media attention, the time for the FCC to act is now – not the future. Last week, a convicted kidnapper escaped a maximum-security prison in South Carolina by using a contraband cell phone to coordinate the delivery of wire cutters via a drone. While he was later apprehended, this is an issue that remains a serious public safety concern. Recently, South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) Director Bryan P. Stirling and other policy makers have gone before the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC asking them to take actions to defeat contraband cell phones for the safety of their corrections officers, employees, and for the public at large. GTL supports and shares in the concerns recently expressed by SCDC Director Stirling and other correctional administrators.
With over 25 years as a technology partner to corrections, GTL has deployed three times more Managed Access systems than any other industry provider, and we have learned through experience that Managed Access is very expensive and is not the silver bullet solution for combatting contraband cell phones. GTL is deploying a Blended Technology approach, which addresses both supply and demand for contraband cell phones and has met with some success in efforts to keep these devices out of the hands of inmates.
The FCC is not the only organization that must participate in solving this problem. Wireless carriers must realize they have an important role to play in closing the gap on this public safety issue. Much like the public-private partnership these carriers formed to build and execute the AMBER Alert System, wireless carriers have the resources to help solve this problem in the immediate future.
“Unless wireless carriers take a seat at the table and work with the corrections community to solve this problem, these kinds of security incidents will continue to occur,” stated Jeffrey B. Haidinger, President and Chief Operating Officer at GTL. “Wireless carriers have a crucial role to play when it comes to building a solution that truly promotes public safety by eliminating contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities. It is time they stepped up and worked with all parties to take actions that will protect the public. As the corrections industry technology leader, GTL is joining SCDC Director Stirling and countless others that have gone before the FCC to encourage wireless carriers to support the efforts of those who are working hard to better protect our communities.”
Consistent with previous FCC meetings and filings, last month, GTL formally submitted comments to the FCC as part of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). In this filing, among other things, GTL stresses the FCC should allow pilots of multiple technologies and strongly encourage wireless providers to participate in building a solution with technology they already own.
“An inmate escape is a serious public safety issue and we strongly encourage FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FCC Commissioners to move quickly towards building consensus among all stakeholders, including wireless providers, to develop solutions to tackle this nationwide epidemic,” concluded Mr. Haidinger. “This much-needed change in regulation would give the corrections community a fighting chance at winning this war on contraband cell phones and increasing public safety.”
GTL leads the fields of correctional technology, education, and government payment services with visionary solutions and customized products that integrate seamlessly to deliver security, financial value, and ease of operation for its customers and aid in rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism rates for inmates. As a trusted industry leader, GTL provides services to 32 state departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and 79 of the 100 largest city/county facilities, including 40 of the top 50, which comprise 1.8 million inmates nationwide. To learn more about GTL, please visit www.gtl.net or our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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