Cellphone Smuggling Big Business In Prison: Is Jamming The Answer?

Cell phone jammers are nothing new. They've been around in one form or another for years now, and even though they aren't exactly legal in some scenarios, the technology is certainly there to block calls from going in or out. Now, Britain's largest jail has been told that it should consider instituting that very tech at its facilities. Why would a prison--a place where you'd think no cell phones could enter--need jamming technology?

David Jamieson, chairman of Wandsworth prison's Independent Monitoring Board, has determined that "illegal phones fuel prison drug trading, bullying and gang problems." Amazingly, we're learning that illegal cell phones behind bars are big business; for wealthier inmates, phones costing as much as £400 can be smuggled in illegally, and that a total of 7000 phones were seized in 2008 after they were brought in via illicit means. It's not hard to imagine what kinds of problems having phones in prison could bring, but culling the problem could be easier said than done.

The Prison Service has said that blocking signals is "technically challenging and not quick, simple or cheap to implement." In fact, it would cost over £250,000to equip an entire prison with signal jamming tech, and while that could theoretically pay for itself over time, it's still a tough investment to swallow. Maybe they should just relocate their prisons to area of weak coverage? We kid, we kid.