Saturday, September 11, 2010

Outside Crime from Inside Prison

Another in the ongoing reportage of cell phones inside prisons allowing prisoners to control crimes outside, as reported by The Clarion Ledger; and another nail in the coffin of the argument by the USCCB that the death penalty can be abolished because modern penal technology can protect the innocent from the aggressor.

An excerpt.

“More than 216,320 texts and cellular phone calls have been blocked from being delivered inside the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman since Aug. 6, thanks to cutting-edge technology unveiled Wednesday.

“The system forms a radio frequency umbrella that intercepts cell phone transmissions in a specified area, preventing unauthorized communications from inmates.

"It's a big deal that we're first in the U.S. to employ this type of managed access system when there's a problem in virtually every prison and jail in the United States of America," Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said.

“MDOC negotiated so that its telecommunications provider, Global Tel*Link Solutions, and partner Tecore Networks would include a system to control cell phone usage without costing the state an additional dime, Epps said. "This system is worth over a half-million dollars in this process," he said.

“So far this year, nearly 2,000 cell phones have been confiscated from Mississippi prisons. Last year, almost 3,600 cell phones were seized

“In recent years, cell phones have been used in prison escapes, including from Parchman, Lee County and the Harrison County Community Work Center, Epps said. One escape culminated in the shooting of a police officer in Nashville. Also, cell phones have been used to call in hits on witnesses or possibly police officers, Epps said.

"In Baltimore, a man called in a hit on his witness and had him killed before trial," Epps said. "A death row inmate in Texas called the state senator, and when they took up the phone, the SIM card had more than 2,000 calls on it. And there's a reason to believe a captain in South Carolina was killed as a result of a cell phone."