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Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr

Georgia asking feds to allow cellphone jamming in prisons

By Dave Williams
Bureau Chief
Capitol Beat News Service

ATLANTA – Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take immediate action to allow cellphone jamming devices to be used inside state prisons and local jails.

The FCC currently prohibits state and local governments from using jammers, a policy that dates back to the 1990s, before prison inmates began using contraband cellphones to plan and execute dangerous criminal operations.

“Nothing in (federal law) prohibits the FCC from revising its position to allow state agencies to use cellphone jamming devices in prisons,” Carr wrote in a letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel dated Tuesday.

“In fact, the United States Bureau of Prisons has recognized the potential value of cellphone jammers already and is permitted to use jamming devices at several federal penitentiaries, including at least one in Georgia.”

In Georgia alone, 8,074 contraband cellphones were confiscated last year, with 5,482 confiscated so far this year.

Recently, an incarcerated leader of the infamous street gang “Yves Saint Laurent Squad” used a contraband cellphone to order a hit that resulted in the death of an 88-year-old Georgia veteran.

“There are hundreds of examples from across the country of how a contraband cellphone in the hands of an inmate can be used as a deadly weapon (to) give them the ability to continue their criminal enterprise,” Georgia Commissioner of Corrections Tyrone Oliver said.

“As attempts to infiltrate our facilities with contraband cellphones evolve, access to jamming technology is paramount in our efforts to combat those attempts.”

The General Assembly passed legislation this year stiffening penalties for smuggling prohibited items including cellphones into prisons.

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