IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Editorial - Cells Phones, Prison Don’t Mix

July 21, 2009

Amarillo Globe-News
By Editorial Board
July 21, 2009

Texas prisons are dangerous places that are made even more dangerous by the presence of cell phones behind the razor wire and stone walls.

A senator, Texas ' own Kay Bailey Hutchison, is working on legislation that enables states to jam cell phones inside prisons. This effort needs to result in law.

Prison inmates smuggle cell phones inside to do all manner of harm. It's been said that the criminal mind is an ingenious instrument. Telecommunications technology enables the criminal to do all kinds of harm from inside "the joint."

Hutchison is working across the political aisle with Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., on the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009. It would allow states to jam cell phones, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Federal law currently bans cell phone jamming. The bill would allow certain exceptions to that law, particularly in or near prisons.

It's critical to point out that the senior member of the Texas Senate, John Whitmire, D-Houston, received a threat from a death row inmate using a smuggled cell phone. It's a shame that it took a threat against a prominent legislator to get people's attention, given that similar threats are made all the time against people who don't occupy positions of authority and power.

State prison systems need this legislation to thwart the growing menace of smuggled cell phones into these maximum-security lockups. If traditional methods of stemming the flow of these devices aren't working, then it's time to turn technological forces loose.

Cell phones inside prison are a menace that need to be eradicated by whatever means necessary.

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