ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 17, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) issued this statement today following the first-ever legal test of cell phone jamming technology at a federal prison. Last year, Governor O’Malley and Senator Mikulski formally requested approval for the test from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Today, Governor O’Malley visited the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, MD, where the Bureau of Prisons and the NTIA were conducting the first-ever sanctioned test of the jamming technology at a prison.
“Law enforcement needs every tool available to fight the violent crimes that are being orchestrated by criminals using illegal cell phones behind bars. Today’s event is an important step in understanding the technology and its impact on the areas surrounding prisons. Today’s test marks the first time the federal government has sanctioned the use of this equipment for these purposes at a prison, and we’re pleased that the NTIA chose a federal facility in Maryland, further demonstrating our national leadership on this important public safety issue.
“The enormous hurdles required simply to make this test possible should serve as evidence enough of the critical need for passage of S. 251, the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009. We must give law enforcement quick access to every technological tool available -- including cell phone jamming -- to combat illegal cell phone use on the inside and protect our neighbors and families on the outside.”