Based out of Dallas, Texas, Securus Technologies is regarded at the industry leader when it comes to solutions designed to enhance the security of correctional institutions. One of the company’s newer solutions is its Wireless Containment Systems, WCS. WCS is designed to prevent the introduction into and elimination of wireless devices from correctional facilities.
The introduction and use of illegal cellphones is a widespread problem in the U.S. correctional system. This is a pervasive problem on the local, state, and federal levels, in correctional facilities of all types.
In the process of implementing WCS in eight particular correctional facilities, the serious problem of illegal communications coming from incarcerated inmates was underscored. During a one year time period, Securus Technologies prevented 1.7 million illegal communications at these eight facilities. Keep in mind that there are thousands of correctional institutions of all types on the local, state, and federal levels in the United States.
The story of correctional officer Robert Johnson further illustrates the problem of widespread illegal use of cellphones in correctional facilities. Johnson was employed as a correctional officer for the state of Florida.
One day, while on the job, Johnson came upon a box an inmate or inmates was attempting to get into the institution. The box contained what ultimately was determined to be $50,000 in contraband.
Johnson’s seizure of the illegal contraband did not go unnoticed by the inmate ultimately behind the scheme to get that illicit material inside the institution. Moreover, the inmate possessed an illegal cellphone.
With his illegal cellphone, the inmate was able to make contact with a criminal associate outside of the institution’s walls. Via the cellphone, the inmate was able to arrange a hit on correctional officer Johnson.
The inmate’s associated, likely a fellow gang member, followed the inmate’s orders. He went to the correctional officer’s home during the early morning hours. He broke into the residence. He opened fired on Johnson, hitting him multiple times.
Johnson was not expected to survive the shooting ordered by the inmate. Somehow, he did survive, against all odds.
In the aftermath of the attempt on his life, Johnson has made telling his story his mission in life. He wants to educate others, in the correctional community and among the public at large, on the serious consequences of cellphones in correctional institutions.
The attempted murder of Johnson is only once example of crimes committed among the general public that are directed by inmates with cellphones. Indeed, the Johnson case most definitely is not the first time an incarcerated individual has ordered a hit on a member of the public using an illegal cellphone in prison. Unless cellphones are eradicated from correctional facilities, these institutions and the general public will remain at risk.