Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Across the country, there are a growing number of illegal cellphones being used by criminals in correctional facilities. In response to the problem, Maryland has announced a pilot program that it hopes will prevent prisoners from making unauthorized calls on the devices, according to Gazette.net, a Maryland news site. Starting May 3 at the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore, a managed access system will screen all cell signals, analyze them and allow only those from numbers on an authorized list of numbers to go through. If the signal is not on the approved list, the call will be blocked in a fashion similar to what happens when a call is dropped. The technology installation will cost $2 million; half of it will be covered by federal funding. If the 60-day pilot program is successful, the state may expand it to include other facilities. In testing this system, Maryland joins states such as California, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas in finding ways to halt cellphone use without violating federal communications law, which prohibits the jamming of any legal signals.