Over the course of the previous few decades, the proliferation of illegal cell phones within the nation’s prison system has taken on urgent implications. The vast number of illegal cell phones that flood some of the nation’s carceral facilities threatens to undermine the institutional order and even creates serious problems for the public safety.
In response to the ever-increasing number of illegal cell phones in the nation’s prisons, Securus Technologies, one of the country’s leading providers of inmate communications services, has developed a system that allows corrections officers to both block unauthorized cell phone calls and to locate the devices within the facility.
But some people are questioning the motives of the company, stating that the only reason that Securus has developed the system is because illegal cell phones in prison interfere with their ability to profit from the phone banks that they run. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Securus phone systems have state-of-the-art security features
The phone systems that Securus runs throughout many of the nation’s penal institutions have some of the most cutting-edge security features of any communications system in the world.
Typical phone banks, which often include Securus’ highly lauded video visitation platform, include sophisticated algorithms, backed by massive computing power, that allow for the constant monitoring of all calls taking place over the prison’s phone systems. The automatic monitoring system is able to parse the conversations taking place over every call, identifying any talk about criminal activity or any use of unusual words, such as code words, that may indicate some kind of criminal conspiracy is taking place.
The system is able to alert officers if a conversation exceeds a certain risk threshold. This not only frees up officers from the task of monitoring certain calls, it allows for every single communication taking place within the prison to be completely vetted, making the institution safer and all but eliminating the opportunity for inmates to engage in violations of the institutional rules or the to commit crimes.
However, when inmates have access to illegal cell phones, all of these security features can be bypassed. This puts the safety of the institution in jeopardy. But the most severe consequences have to do with the increased risk to the public at large.
Many case have been seen where prison gang leaders order the intimidation or even murder of witnesses in ongoing criminal investigations. This poses a severe risk to the integrity of the criminal justice system as a whole, as many of today’s criminal cases rely heavily on the testimony of witnesses.
For these reasons, Securus’ Wireless Containment System is doing much more than simply ensuring the profits of the prison and the phone operator. It is making prisons safer.