Newly proposed federal legislation would allow jailers to use jamming technology.
The bills introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Congressman Kevin Brady would change a Federal Communications Commission rule-and allow prison officials in Texas-and the rest of the nation-to install cell phone jamming devices.
"What's behind this is my belief that when Texans pick up the phone and say hello, they shouldn't find a prisoner on the other end who's threatening them," Brady said.
We've heard a lot of talk about it here in Texas in recent months-after officials uncovered a number of cell phones illegally smuggled on to Death Row. One inmate even used the phone to call State Senator John Whitmire.
"The State to their credit instituted a statewide prison lockdown to remove the cell phones and other contraband-but they can't be certain of stopping all those calls," Brady said.
While many see it as a common sense solution to the issue, others aren't so sure.
"Certainly, these blocking technologies do not discriminate against blocking the cell phone usage of the guards, the prison visitors, or even private contractors or other people doing work on prison grounds," said American Rights Association president Randall Kallinen. "Certainly, if any employees or visitors were to have an emergency, and had brought their cell phone with them that they had paid for or contracted for, they should be able to use that cell phone to make that emergency call-or any other call."
Ultimately, Kallinen said such a change may overstep its desired effect.
"We would hope that if there was any law that was ever created, it would be narrowly tailored, and the technology would be such that it would be solely for its intended purpose," Kallinen said.
Copyright © 2003-2013 Clear Channel. All rights reserved.