What if something you use every day could be considered a weapon? For inmates of correctional facilities, the use of what seems to be common to the public are often prohibited for safety reasons. Simple household items like plastic kitchenware and art utensils, to electronics and inmate communication, can be used to carry out violence both inside and outside of prison walls. Former South Carolina Correctional Office, Robert Johnson, often shares his personal story, and the motivation behind his mission to crack down on inmate contraband.
In 2010, after intercepting a package believed to be worth $50,000, Johnson became a victim of inmate retaliation. Shortly after he woke to prepare for his work day, Johnson was startled by a loud sound at his front door. As a veteran in the correctional field, his first instinct immediately told him he was in danger. Fearing that the intruder was there to retaliate against him for intercepting the package weeks before, Johnson called the intruder into his hallways to keep his sleeping wife safe. After a brief struggle, he was shot six times in the chest and stomach. Although doctors warned Johnson’s wife to prepare for the worst, he pushed through and survived the terrifying encounter.
Inmates at the facility where Johnson worked had used a contraband cell phone to arrange his murder. Johnson’s story sheds light on just how easy it is to turn something seemingly so harmless, into a deadly weapon.
Leading provider of inmate technology and corrections monitoring, Securus Technologies, is taking major steps towards putting an end to the use of inmate cell phones. When Evans Correctional Institution inmate Jose Ariel Rivera posted a Facebook Live video showing off a knife, the world was outraged. The threat and danger of inmate contraband have been proven time after time, so what are we going to do about it? Securus Technologies says they have the answer. Several U.S. institutions have already installed Securus’ Wireless Containment Solutions software, which prevents cellphones from connecting to the commercial wireless network.
Rick Smith, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Securus says the process of acquiring software like theirs was simplified for correctional institutions by the FCC in March of 2017. The company has invested more than $40 million into the WCS software and is committed to its continued development and the safety of the general public.