For seven years Robert Johnson has been telling a story about the dangers of inmates using cell phones. He has worked in corrections for fifteen years, and he worked at South Carolina’s Lee Correctional Institution in 2010. His job was the confiscation of contraband. Approximately two weeks before he was shot inside his home, he had intercepted a big package thought valued at $50,000. He was called into work on March 5th of 2010. He got up at 5:30 a.m. and heard his front door being kicked in. A large man raised a gun, and his next memory was waking up on the floor of the bathroom. He had been shot six times in the chest and stomach from less than six feet. The hospital chaplain told his wife he did not believe he would survive. His survival was miracle. Sean Echols was arrested and convicted of trying to kill Johnson. He was an ex-convict.
A cellphone was used to contact Echols. The contract was placed using a Greendot card for $6,000. Johnson has had 23 surgeries in seven years with constant pain. He is trying to prevent inmates from using cell phones to commit crimes. One crime I found shocking was when Kendarius Edwards, a nine-month old baby was shot in Georgia while in the arms of his mother. A prison inmate ordered the murder because he was displeased with the actions of the baby’s uncle. I find this ridiculous. The FCC became involved in March, and they are attempting to control the use of cell phones. Federal law restricts blocking or jamming cell phone signals. Johnson now works for Securus Technologies as a paid consultant. They are using a Wireless Containment System to prevent these calls. A powerful antenna allows only known numbers including 911 to connect. All other calls are dropped. Securus has blocked 1.7 million calls from inmates.
Securus Technologies shares the nation’s shock over cell phones being used to commit crimes. A 3 ½ minute Facebook video allegedly shows Jose Ariel Rivera, a 31-year old inmate currently serving a sentence for burglary for ten years wielding a knife. He has been caught with a cellphone in the past. The Wireless Containment Solution from Securus Technologies has been designed so these types of incidents can be detected and prevented. If the system from Securus had been installed, Rivera would not have been able to connect to the wireless network meant for commercial use. The data Securus collected last month with their Wireless Containment Solution has been released. This demonstrated how severe contraband cell phone usage is in our nation. Their technology is so sophisticated 1.7 calls were stopped in eight correctional facilities in the U.S. in one year. I strongly believe Securus has the right idea.