Governor helps test cell phone jamming at prisons
Gov. Martin O'Malley will be on hand at a federal prison in Western Maryland today to watch the first test of a prison cell phone jamming device. Calls to block cell phone signals in prisons to thwart inmates from ordering hits on witnesses and running drug networks from behind bars is meeting stiff resistance.
Many cell phone companies view the initiative as unnecessary and say it could jam cell phones of legitimate customers outside the prison walls. In additions, some have said it would make the job of corrections officers more dangerous because they too would be unable to use the phones. Above is a picture of confiscated cell phones from a Maryland prison, taken by The Sun's Barbara Haddock Taylor.
In September, Maryland prison officials spent a day testing similar equipment. The U.S. Congress is considering lifting a federal ban on blocking cell phone signals to allow limited deployment at prisons. Maryland authorities say that cell phones are among the items most confiscated from cells.
Here is a statement form O'Malley:
GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY TO VISIT WESTERN MARYLAND, ATTEND NATION’S FIRST CELL PHONE JAMMING TEST AT FEDERAL PRISONGovernor will also Tour Local Business to promote Job Creation Tax Credit
ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 16, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley will visit Western Maryland tomorrow, where he will attend the nation’s first-ever federally sanctioned test of cell phone jamming technology at a federal prison. Last year, Governor O’Malley and Senator Mikulski formally requested approval for the test from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Tomorrow, Governor O’Malley will visit the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, MD, where the Bureau of Prisons and the NTIA will conduct the first-ever sanctioned test of the jamming technology at a prison. Governor O’Malley and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Gary Maynard will address media at the prison’s training facility following the visit.Cell phone jamming technology will allow prisons to interrupt the signal of illegal cell phones that are potentially being used to orchestrate crimes from within the walls of the prison.
Later, Governor O’Malley will visit American Woodmark, a cabinet manufacturer in Cumberland that is expanding and adding jobs. The Governor will highlight the Job Creation and Recovery tax credit, part of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s jobs agenda to fuel innovation and drive economic progress throughout Maryland.