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SC prison officials met with FCC regarding solutions in contraband cell phone issue

Cell phones confiscated from Lieber Correctional (File/WCIV)

State prison officials and the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) met Wednesday in our nation’s capital to discuss contraband cell phones in prisons.

South Carolina Department of Corrections director Bryan Stirling was at the meeting representing for S.C.

Stirling said this is the first time prison officials, the FCC and the Department of Justice have sat down to discuss solutions to fix the issue of cell phones in prisons.

A solution that Stirling has been fighting for over the years is prison cell phone jamming, but it’s illegal.

“We remind and warn consumers that it is a violation of federal law to use a cell jammer or similar devices that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications such as cell phones, police radar, GPS, and Wi-Fi,” the FCC says on their website.

“I am confident that micro-jamming or jamming in general will work and if the industry wants to give us other solutions to this problem, we’re willing to listen and want to work with them on that,” Stirling said about cell phone jamming.

Last year, 6,200 cell phones or parts were found in S.C. prisons according to Stirling.

Stirling said this is a worldwide issue and it’s dangerous because inmates continue in criminal behavior behind bars.

He says he's willing to come up with other solutions other than cell phone jamming with the help of the cell phone industry.

All in all Stirling said he felt Wednesday's meeting was "very productive".

At the meeting was also Representative Mark Sanford saying the meeting was "a step in the right direction".

Prison officials from Mississippi, Tennessee and Indiana were also in attendance.

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