The cellular phone has been one of the major innovations that has allowed for the extremely high standard of living seen not only in America but also throughout the world. Today, someone in Harare can talk, face-to-face, with someone in Harlem, as if the two were not geographically separated at all. This incredible shrinking of the world, making it possible for anyone to instantly communicate with anyone else anywhere on the globe, has been a major driver of economic development and a force for increased education and the sharp reduction of extreme poverty.
In fact, the role that cellular technologies have played in the global economy almost cannot be overstated. In first world countries, nearly everyone has access to smart phones, meaning that all of the world’s knowledge and people are at the very fingertips of the user. This level of interconnectedness, field-leveling in terms of educational opportunities and instant, high-quality communications with anyone in the world is one of the defining characteristics of the modern era.
However, the proliferation, cheapening and incredible increase in features and utility of modern cellular devices has not been good for absolutely everyone. One of the few areas that have been decisively adversely affected by the ever-shrinking cell phone is the U.S. prison industry. Cell phones started becoming a serious problem for America’s prison system in the late 1990s. For the first time, Cell phones became small enough to be easily concealed almost anywhere. They also lowered in cost dramatically, with many service providers beginning to give away cellular devices for free with new sign-ups to their plans.
This created enormous headaches for the nation’s prisons system. Criminal gangs quickly recognized the opportunity that cheap, effective and reliable means of communications with the outside world would provide. Highly organized gangs, such as the Aryan Brotherhood, the Mexican Mafia and the Black Guerrilla Family quickly seized on the opportunity that these cell phones afforded. Before long, gangs were ordering large-scale criminal enterprises to be carried out on the outside of prison by their associates. These included conducing large drug deals, intimidating key witnesses in major conspiracy cases and even ordering hits on prison staff.
The problem of contraband cell phones continued to spiral out of control throughout the 2000s. By the mid-2010s, the scourge of contraband phones in the nation’s prisons reached epidemic proportions. Due to their ability to coordinate with the outside world, gangs were getting the upper hand throughout many of the most violent prisons in the nation. Something needed to be done.
Then Securus Technologies began rolling out its Wireless Containment System. The device is able to block all calls being placed from illegal devices. It promises to permanently end the ongoing catastrophe that the presence of illegal cell phones in the nation’s prisons has created.