The state Correction Department issued a news release saying it was hopeful that new technology would allow jamming of cell phone signals from housing areas of the state prisons and thus end their use for bringing contraband.

Corrections Secretary Wendy Kelley said prisoners use smuggled phones to arrange drug drops, carry out escapes and direct criminal activity in the free world.

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She said the prisons seized 1,700 phones last year and may seize 4,500 this year. She said she supports legislation proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton that would allow state and federal prisons to use jamming systems. She says they can be set to block phones in “micro” areas while allowing legitimate calls within one foot of the jammed area.

Prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler said officers use radios, not phones, to communicate so this wouldn’t hinder their work. Their personal cell phones would work in hallways outside housing areas, she said.

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Here’s the full release.

 

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