Fmr. SC corrections officer speaks to FCC about prison cell phones

WASHINGTON, DC (WSPA) – A push to help prisons and jails find and stop inmates from using cell phones is taking a big step forward.

The FCC voted Thursday to make it easier for those correctional facilities to fight that with technology.

A former corrections officer from South Carolina helped play a role in that decision.

“There is no valid reason for a locked up criminal to have access to a cell phone, none, not to call 911, not to call home, absolutely none,” says former SC Corrections Officer Robert Johnson. “This problem must be resolved once and for all.”

Johnson spoke before the FCC Thursday to tell them about an attempt on his life on the orders of a locked up gang member using a cell phone.

Seven years ago this month, Johnson was shot six times at his home. He says an inmate put a hit on him by using an illegal cell phone.

“My doctor said I should be dead and it’s a miracle I’m still alive.”

The FCC Chairman says between 2012 and 2014 more than 8,700 cell phones were recovered in federal prisons alone.

“Inmates are using them to run drug operations, to intimidate witnesses, to direct gang activity, to execute kidnappings, to extort money from the families and loved ones of their inmates, to conduct phone scams, and to harass innocent members of the public,” says chairman Ajit Pai.

With the vote Thursday, the FCC is making it easier and quicker for jails to get technology to be able to find any contraband phones.

Since the attack on his life, Johnson has made it his mission to fight for change.

He wants correctional facilities to go a step further to be able to jam the cell signals but that would require a change in the law by Congress.

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